The Trump administration has identified nearly 500 parents deported from the U.S. without their children, according to a recent court filing in a lawsuit related to family separations at the border. Many were not given the option to reunify with their children.
It was already known that the Trump administration had deported parents without their kids, but the filing gives the first concrete account of their number at 471. According to CNN, some of the parents were not given the opportunity to “elect or waive reunification,” as would eventually be mandated under a June court order that also halted most family separations and required the government to reunify those families that had already been split. Waiving reunification would allow children to stay in the U.S. and pursue asylum.
The information comes from a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of parents separated from their children.
According to the filing, of the 2,816 migrant children detained and held by the U.S. government, all but 75 have been released and united with a family member or other sponsor.
According to BuzzFeed News, the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, is considering a request from the ACLU to expand the court order to include children separated from their parents but handed off to another sponsor before the June order. If Sabraw grants the request, the number of child separations the government would still have to investigate would expand dramatically.