In January, nine migrant parents who were unlawfully deported from the United States without their children made a historic return to the country. The group—which was made up of eight fathers and one mother—was greeted by family and well-wishers when they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the middle of the night. They were allowed back into the country after a California federal judge ruled that the Trump Administration violated their rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that there are hundreds more parents just like them. Unfortunately, the organization is concerned that many other unlawfully deported parents may never be found. As reported by CBS News, activists are looking for as many as 700 parents in Central America.
“Unreachable” Parents: The Scope of the Problem
Back in July of 2018, the ACLU created a committee to identify, locate, and make contact with every parent who was separated from their children and then deported by the Trump Administration. CBS News reports that after more than a year of searching, activists and volunteers have been able to find more than 400 parents in Central America.
However, currently, nearly 700 parents have been deemed “unreachable”. The primary problem is the Trump Administration only kept limited information about these parents on record before deporting them from the country. In most cases, the only real contact information that the advocates have is an out-of-date or out-of-service telephone number.
There are at least 22 people on the ground in Central America actively looking for these parents. Yet, they are facing deep challenges. Vulnerable migrants are believed to be in remote cities and towns, spread across a vast stretch of four different countries—Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.
Credible Asylum Claims Ignored By the Officials
Sadly, the Trump Administration’s family separation policies have left deep, long-lasting scars. These cases demonstrate just how frequently credible asylum claims were simply ignored by the federal government. In its reporting, CBS News profiles the story of a woman named Cleivi and her husband Fernando.
Natives of Guatemala, they saw their 17-year-old son gunned down by violent criminal gangs. Fearing for their lives and fleeing the country, Fernando was unlawfully deported by the Trump Administration in 2018. Despite requesting asylum at an official border crossing as instructed to do, Fernando was deported in violation of a court order. Thankfully, he was among those nine parents that reunited with his family at LAX last month.
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