ACLU: 545 Migrant Children Yet to Be Reunited With Parents

Oct 21, 2020
2:28 PM

In this February 19, 2019 file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

The Trump administration, which has separated thousands of migrant families since 2017, has failed to locate the parents of 545 children, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU and other organizations were tasked last year by a federal judge with trying to find and reunite migrant families separated by federal immigration authorities under President Trump’s so called zero-tolerance policy. In a court filing this week, the ACLU said the parents of two-thirds of those children have already been deported to Central America.

“People ask when we will find all of these families, and sadly, I can’t give an answer. I just don’t know,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project told NBC News. “But we will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes.”

The New York City-based human rights group Justice in Motion is working to physically track down the parents of the migrant children in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, but their efforts have been impeded by the advent of COVID-19.

Under President Trump’s immigration enforcement policy, more than 2,800 families were separated, mainly at the U.S-Mexico border, in 2018, according to the Washington Post.

A report by The Young Center for Immigrant and Children’s Rights found that 4,500 migrant children were separated from their parents in 2018, but the Trump administration “continues to separate families, taking children from parents, placing parents in adult immigration detention and children in shelters across the country.”


An Orderly Transition of Power?

A new poll finds that while nearly 90%of respondents believe they will personally be able to freely and fairly vote in the election, 65% worry there will not be “an orderly transition of power if President Donald Trump loses his bid for re-election.

The results are part of a nine-week tracking poll conducted by Latino Decisions and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund. Election Day is less than two weeks away.

President Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that tens of millions of fraudulent mail-in ballots could be cast ahead of the November 3 election. He has also refused to say if he will accept the results of the election and relinquish power if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden.

“As the community continues to experience the devastating effects of the [COVID-19] crisis, Latino voters also have significant concerns about the dissemination of misinformation in Election 2020 and the orderly transition of power should there be a change of Administrations,” said NALEO Educational Fund Chief Executive Officer Arturo Vargas.

The poll has also found that “68% of respondents planned on supporting Vice President Joe Biden, with 25% planning on voting for President Donald Trump,” Latino Rebels reported on Tuesday.

Respondents said the most important issues facing Latinos ahead of the election include: COVID-19 (52%), healthcare (29%), jobs (29%), and racism and discrimination (23%), are the most important issues among respondents, according the tracking poll. Also, 73% of survey respondents said Trump contracted COVID-19 because he failed to take the proper precautions and acted irresponsibly, and 73% say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the COVID-19 response.


Path to Citizenship Poll

Despite more than 400 executive actions on immigration by the Trump Administration, “two-thirds of Americans (64%) say that immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be allowed a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements,” according to survey results released this week by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

Likewise, two-thirds of respondents said undocumented immigrants brought “to the U.S. as children, better known as Dreamers, should be granted legal status.”

The survey also found 16% of respondents say undocumented immigrants should be eligible for “permanent residency” in the U.S. but not citizenship. Only 1 in 5 respondents said all undocumented immigrants should be deported.

“Election after election and poll after poll keep finding the same thing: Americans increasingly reject Trump’s racism and xenophobia,” said Douglas Rivlin, director of communication for the immigrants advocacy group America’s Voice.


Essential Heroes Event to Air on CBS

CBS Television will air Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event October 26 at 9 p.m. ET.

The show’s producers say the TV special is meant to highlight the contributions of the Latino community as the nation continues to cope with the fallout of COVID-19.

Latinos are about four times as likely to get infected by the coronavirus and 1.5 times as likely to die from COVID-19 than whites, according to the COVID Tracking Project. As of this writing, nearly 47,000 Latinos have died of COVID-19.<

Momento Latino is a coalition of activists, artists and community leaders working to address the unmet needs of the Latino community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TV special will be emceed by actor and producer Eva Longoria and pop music icons Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan. Longoria, Ben Spector and Henry Muñoz III are the show’s executive producers.


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