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Guatemalan immigrants deported from the United States wait for processing after arriving on a ICE deportation flight on February 9, 2017 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

After Coercing Parents Into Agreeing to Deportation, Trump DOJ Foists Responsibility to Reunite Families on ACLU

"The Trump administration to the ACLU: We broke it. You fix it."

Julia Conley

After misleading parents into waiving their right to be reunited with their children—and then deporting them—the Trump administration claimed on Thursday that if immigrant rights groups want families reunited, they should now be responsible for finding the parents who have been sent back to their home countries.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), which is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the ongoing family separation crisis begun by the Trump administration in May, said in a court filing that the ACLU should find the parents who are now back in their home countries across Central America.

"The Trump administration chose to rip families apart as a matter of policy to punish people for seeking asylum."            —ACLU

"Plaintiffs' counsel should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others, together with the information that defendants have provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries," the DOJ wrote.

On Twitter, the ACLU responded that the group has mobilized to take every possible action to help immigrants affected by the Trump administration's immigration policies—but asserted that the fate of thousands of family members who have been separated in recent months is the responsibility of the government.

More than 460 parents have been deported without their children, and the ACLU has reportedly spoken with several of the 126 parents who left after signing so-called "voluntary departure orders"—and learned that they were coerced into agreeing to deportation.

"Based on my discussions with these fathers, it appears that none were told the implications of what they were signing or had an understanding of what they were signing," ACLU attorney Luis Cruz wrote in a court filing. "The manner in which they signed these forms was universally described as intimidating and very stressful. Each described feeling hopeless and believing that they had no alternative but to sign the form."

In another court filing in July, the ACLU convinced a federal judge to temporarily halt deportations to allow parents time to meet with attorneys, to ensure they understood their rights—in an effort to lessen the chaotic nature of the government's hasty deportations of parents.

The task the government is attempting to assign the ACLU is made all the more difficult because of the Trump administration's disregard for record-keeping while separating more than 2,500 children from their parents and then sending parents back to various Central American countries.

An estimated 120 records provided by the government to the ACLU lack addresses for the deported parents, according to Politico.

A Trump administration official told Politico late last month that records for about three quarters of the deported parents show that they did not agree to leave their children in the U.S. alone—directly contradicting Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's claim that "these are parents who have made the decision not to bring the children with them."


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Poll Shows Majority Oppose Supreme Court's Attack on Fundamental Rights

Fifty-six of respondents said they're now concerned the court will attack marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception.

Julia Conley ·


Global Windfall Profit Tax of 90% Needed to Address 'Catastrophic' Food, Climate Crises: Oxfam

Taxing the excess profits of large corporations within the G7 alone could raise an estimated $430 billion to fight world hunger, deliver vaccines to the entire world, and make a giant dent in the fight to drive down fossil fuel pollution and jumpstart the necessary renewable energy transition.

Jon Queally ·


NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·


Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·


Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·

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