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Two weeks ago, the US government patted itself on the back and gave itself a "Top Achiever!" medal for reuniting just two thirds of the families it had taken kids from. A week ago, the Department of Justice filed a motion saying it shouldn't have to find any of the parents it already deported, because are they in the US anymore? Not our problem, even if over 500 kids remain in custody here. Instead, DOJ lawyers argued the ACLU and volunteers should go find the deported parents, because the government is in the business of keeping foreigns out of the country, not doing favors for them. Yep, the government is really claiming every single one of the deportees asked to be sent away without their kids, because anyone who'd subject their kids to the danger of crossing Mexico and entering the US illegally clearly never cared about the kids in the first place.


District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego, who's overseeing the reunification case, told the government to get the fuck out with that because it's the government's damn job, and ordered last Friday that the DOJ submit a plan within one week explaining how it was going to find the deported parents. Sabraw rejected the government's "We Broke It, Let The ACLU Fix It" argument and warned the government it was on the verge of committing an atrocity:

For every parent who is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child — and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration.

Hey, Judge Sabraw, maybe you could crib from that judge in DC and tell Jeff Sessions he'll be jailed for contempt of court?

In the week since, there's been nothing but a lot of cricket noises coming from the DOJ. But because the ACLU and other nonprofit legal groups actually give two shits about people's "rights," they've taken up the difficult work of tracking down the deported parents, even as they insist in court that the responsibility for reuniting families falls on the government, because hey, who split the families up in the first place?

Yes, exactly, Deleted Commenters, the parents themselves, for committing a misdemeanor. Fuck you.

For the last week, the ACLU has been taking up the slack, and not getting a hell of a lot of help from the government. The DOJ said it would provide phone numbers or other information to the ACLU to "help" it find parents, but dragged its feet on that, too. Lee Gelernt, the ACLU's lead attorney in the family separation case, told the Daily Beast,

We absolutely are not planning on allowing the government to thwart reunification based on a supposed claim of a parent knowingly being removed without their kid [...] The judge has made it clear that if the parents want their child, they are entitled to their child—regardless of whether the government thought it was voluntary.

The government has claimed that the deportees all signed away their right to be reunited with their kids, although many deportees have testified they were given no choice at all, just told to sign a paper in English, or in many cases were told if they signed the form, they'd get their children back, when in fact the form waived their rights to have their children returned.

Finally, last night, well after the deadline, the DOJ submitted its "plan," but it still calls for the ACLU to do most of the heavy lifting, according to the Texas Tribune:

The ACLU, the government said, will be responsible for locating the class members using some information provided by the government, establishing contact with parents and determining whether they wish to be reunified with their children.

That sounds a hell of a lot like what Judge Sabraw rejected last week, saying it was the government's "sole obligation and responsibility." Rephrasing it in the guise of a "plan" is some bullshit.

The government said in its filing Thursday it had at least located the parents of 386 children -- about 360 parents altogether -- and had "contacted" 299 of the parents within the last week.

But the Thursday filing also fell back on that bullshit claim about families willingly saying they didn't want to see their kids again, saying

163 children "indicated desire against reunification." That number has precipitously dropped and grown again over the past several weeks, a change ACLU lawyers have called highly suspect.

"Plaintiffs have consistently raised concerns that many of these purported relinquishments were not made voluntarily," ACLU lawyers wrote in a court document Thursday evening.

We don't see any reason why Judge Sabraw shouldn't start issuing contempt orders right now. This is completely insane.

Also, let's just remind you one more time that this shit is not over, the ACLU needs your help, and so does RAICES, which provides lawyers for migrant parents to help them navigate the hellwaters Trump and Sessions have thrown them into.

Oh hey! If you are coming to the Seattle Wonkette meet up tomorrow, Doktor Zoom will be there! That is assuming he can tell the difference between his ass and rental car and find his way there! So, 50/50!

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to money us, or hit the tip jar below!

[Daily Beast / Texas Tribune / Reuters]

Doktor Zoom

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.

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Yeah, that's definitely a repurposed animatronic Hillary (YouTube)

A whole bunch of protests were held today against the fake "president's" fake "emergency" declaration, with people turning out in cold crappy weather to call attention to the general nastiness of the guy who claims he absolutely had to do that declaration that wasn't necessary. Organizers with MoveOn.org said over 250 rallies were planned nationwide. So far, the national State Of Emergency doesn't appear to have caused any of the rallies to be cancelled, despite the very real possibility that terrified Honduran refugees fleeing violence in Central America might suddenly show up and ask for asylum.

Are there still actions taking place in your area? Check at MoveOn!

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WHAT. IS. PAUL. MANAFORT. HIDING?

Before Manafort pleaded guilty and signed up as a cooperating witness who didn't actually cooperate, we wrote this:

We have always kind of figured that Paul Manafort is the one who knows the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy story. He was the first big fish indicted, and they hit him for A LOT. Also note that just about all the other prosecutions that have come from the Mueller investigation so far have been farmed out by Mueller to different jurisdictions. Manafort, on the other hand, Mueller has kept squarely in his office. There has to be a reason for that.

Perhaps it's because, as this Josh Marshall podcast suggests, Paul Manafort, a foreign agent who worked for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, and who got sideways financially with Deripaska, was literally sent into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin to do its dirty work. Perhaps the Steele Dossier is right when it suggests that the entire Trump-Russia election-stealing conspiracy was run by Manafort on the Trump side, and that others like (perhaps!) Michael Cohen only had to take over when Manafort's shit started to stink and the news media started reporting on his weird-ass Russian connections in the summer of 2016.

If it's possible, we are beginning to suspect it may be even worse than that.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller issued his sentencing recommendations for Manafort, after DC district court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled conclusively that the shady motherfucker very intentionally lied and blew up his cooperating agreement. Because Manafort defaulted, Mueller is no longer bound to recommend that Manafort's sentence be reduced, and is free to throw the book right at Manafort's face. HARD.

And that is what Mueller did! To be clear, the sentencing memo is harsh.

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