A Year Later, Trump Admin Finds Info On Some Stolen Kids' Parents Stapled To Wall Behind Old Ziggy Cartoon
The legal teams tasked by a federal judge with finding the parents of all the kids stolen during the Trump administration's family separation policy got some good news for a change. Just a year after the judge ordered the administration to turn over all the files it had that might help reunite the families, the Justice Department coughed up new data that may help locate more of the parents, many of whom were deported in 2017 and 2018.
Wasn't that nice? At least the files didn't get deleted. What a kind magnanimous hero Donald Trump is.
The new release of information was revealed in a court filing Wednesday, as part of a regular status in the ongoing case. The attorneys wrote in the filing that "Among other things, the information includes phone numbers that had not previously been known," so that's probably going to help find at least some of the parents of the 628 kids whose parents still haven't been located after all this time.
Jesus Christ in a caravan, we are definitely the baddies.
As NBC News reports,
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered last year that a steering committee of legal groups and nonprofits find missing families after the Trump administration separated parents and children crossing the border illegally in 2017 and 2018 but failed to keep track of the families it had separated.
Remember, folks, the reason Sabraw ordered the NGOs to take on the work of reconnecting the families was that the Trump administration announced it just didn't want to be bothered with it. The administration's logic was since it had deported most of the parents, they were no longer under US jurisdiction, and hence getting their kids back to them was no longer our job. The kids have mostly been placed in foster care or whatever, many of them with relatives in the US, so they're taken care of too, what's the big deal, apart from the lasting psychological damage?
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project (and a candidate for secular sainthood if you ask us), said,
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. [...] Unfortunately, it took the issue reaching the level of a presidential debate to move them to give us this data.
Factcheck true: In the final debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Kristin Welker asked Trump what he planned to do to reunite the children and their parents, and he replied with the usual bullshit about evil child smugglers (their parents, in this case, not that he mentioned that) and how Barack Obama did the cages, not Trump's fault. But he did say the government was doing all it could to reunite the families — which it hadn't been, but now, much later, the information was finally released, perhaps after somebody at the Justice Department found the list of phone numbers stapled to a bulletin board behind an old Ziggy cartoon.
Everyone's been asking whether the Trump administration has been helping to find these families. Not only have they not been helping, but they have been withholding this data forever[.]
In Wednesday's court filing, the lawyers reported that the nonprofits are still looking in Mexico and Central American countries for deported parents of about 295 children, while they believe the parents of another 333 kids are somewhere in the US. The filing also noted that for 168 of the kids whose parents are missing, the advocacy groups have at least been able to make contact with other family members. The steering committee has set up toll-free hotlines in parents' countries of origin and in the US, and has been sharing the number with other NGOs in hopes that parents will call.
Here's the court filing, for you legal document nerds:
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to create a special office to try to locate all the parents of kids taken under the Trump policy, although NBC News notes that the Biden transition team "has not yet committed to give parents who have been deported the option to come to the United States to reunite with their children."
Hell, at this point they, and all the families torn apart by Trump, should be granted a shot at citizenship, and guaranteed family counseling for life, at a minimum. In a just universe, we'd seize Trump's and all his flunkies' assets to defray the costs.
But in a just universe, this atrocity wouldn't have happened. We need to do the justice part ourselves, and make sure it's never repeated.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. Please set up a monthly $5 to $10 donation if you can!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.