Trump Administration Finally Hands Over Data Critical to Reuniting Families Separated at Border


AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

By Araceli Cruz

December 4, 2020

The data is on migrant children that were separated from their families at the border by the Trump administration between 2017 and 2018.

Immigration advocates are making some progress in their aim to reunite children that were separated from their families at the border. Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say that the Trump administration is finally releasing documents that include information that will help them reunite families separated at the border between 2017 and 2018. 

RELATED: 545 Migrant Children Aren’t Missing Their Parents. It’s Actually 666 Migrant Children.

“Last we reported, we couldn’t locate 666 parents who had been separated from their kids,” the ACLU stated on Twitter. “Now, we’ve found 38 more, but we’re still looking for the parents of 628 children. We’ll keep fighting until every last family is reunited.”

The new data comes after months of efforts by the ACLU pleading to the Trump administration to disclose any information that would assist in locating the families that had already been deported to their native country while their children remained in US detention. 

According to NBC News, the Justice Department’s data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review includes information critical to locating the parents. 

“Among other things, the information includes phone numbers that had not previously been known,” the lawyers said in the filing, according to NBC News

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) spoke out against the Trump administration, saying that it knowingly withheld information from immigration advocates in order to make the reunification process more difficult. 

“These families belong together here in the United States—and a human rights commission should investigate what happened, even refer prosecutions,” Rep. Castro said

RELATED: Biden: I Will Create a Task Force to Reunite 545 Children With Families on Day One

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said that the information wasn’t released until the matter was brought up during the presidential debates.

“We have been repeatedly asking the Trump administration for any additional data they might have to help locate the families and are only finally getting these new phone numbers and addresses,” Gelernt told NBC News. “Unfortunately, it took the issue reaching the level of a presidential debate to move them to give us this data.”

President-elect Joe Biden said he would create a task force on day one to help reunite the remaining children with their families. 

“Families belong together,” Biden stated on Oct. 29. “That’s the very core of my immigration policy. We can secure our borders without treating immigrants as less than human.”


  • Araceli Cruz

    Araceli is Copper Courier's social media manager. Her past work has been published in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Mic, The Cut, Zora, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and others.



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