Lawyers in the US are looking for the parents of more than 500 migrant children. They belong to the group of 2,700 children who were separated from their parents by order of the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018.
In the summer of 2018, a federal judge ruled that parents and children should be reunited. The lawyers were ordered by the court to look for the parents, but because the government did not properly keep track of what happened to the parents, this was not possible with 545 children. They have been placed with foster families or family members.
From door to door
The civil rights movement ACLU believes that two-thirds of parents have been expelled and reside in their country of origin. In almost all cases these are countries in Central America.
In Guatemala and Honduras, volunteers now go door to door to track down parents. That’s a tricky and time-consuming process, the ACLU says. The search had to be temporarily halted due to the corona pandemic, but has resumed, albeit on a limited scale.
The decision to remove children from parents who had entered the US illegally was part of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy against illegal border crossing. The measure provoked outrage inside and outside the US.
Trump’s own wife Melania, who never makes any political statements, and his daughter Ivanka have also turned against the president’s anti-immigration policy.
Trump at the time blamed the Democrats, who would hold back tougher immigration laws. The separation of migrant children from their parents would be the result of the practice of illegally crossing the border of adults in jail for having been formally guilty of a crime. Because children were not allowed to be locked up, they were separated.
For Trump, the practice was often that migrants with their children were allowed to await their asylum case in freedom. Because not everyone showed up at his case, the Republicans called this one catch and releasepolicy, arrest and release.