WASHINGTON – Lawyers responsible for reuniting migrant families separated under the Trump administration said in a federal court file Wednesday evening that they had recently contacted the parents of 61 other children.
The record in the Southern District of California shows that the number of known separated children whose parents have yet to be contacted by pro bono lawyers, known as the Steering Committee, has increased from 506 to 445. The committee publishes periodic reports on its progress to the federal judge who oversees the reunification process.
At the end of February, the steering committee announced that it had found the parents of 105 children since mid-January, bringing the number of children whose parents had not been contacted from 611 to 506.
The steering committee began work under the Trump administration and continued to contact families as the Biden Family Reunification Task Force builds its own database of potentially separated families.
Lawyers estimate that the parents of 302 children who have not yet been reached have been deported to Central America, while the parents of 129 children are somewhere in the U.S. Lawyers say the government has failed. has not yet provided contact details for the parents of the other 14. children.
Lawyers for the steering committee previously told the judge handling the case that parents separated from their children in 2017, before the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy” officially began, were particularly difficult to find. The government had no contact information to find many of those who were deported without their children.
The Biden administration’s family reunification task force has pledged to bring these deported parents back, so they can be reunited with their children in the United States, but has not yet done so.
Some separated parents and children may have found a way to reunite on their own, but did not notify the committee, court, or government.
Jacob Soboroff reported from Los Angeles.