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With Nearly 500 Children Still in Custody, Rep. Barbara Lee Slams Trump Over 'Government-Sanctioned Child Abuse'

More than five weeks have passed since a federal court-ordered deadline to reunite all families

Activists rally and call on the Trump administration to meet the court ordered deadline to return immigrant children to their families after being separated at the southern border, outside Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, July 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo : Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With more than a month having passed since the federal court-ordered deadline for the Trump administration to reunite separated families, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Friday denounced as "government-sanctioned child abuse" the fact that there are still nearly 500 children in government custody.

"It's a violation of human rights. And it's another stain on our nation's soul."
—Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
Court documents (pdf) filed Thursday show that there are still 497 children in custody, 22 of whom are under five. Three hundred twenty-two of them have parents who've already been deported.

All children were supposed to have been reunited by July 26; those under five were supposed to have been reunited by July 10.

"The deadline for reuniting families was FIVE weeks ago, but hundreds of children are still separated from their parents," Lee tweeted Friday. "This is government sanctioned child abuse. It's a violation of human rights. And it's another stain on our nation's soul."

The ACLU, which filed suit to stop the administration's family separation policy, noted the continuing humanitarian disaster as well:

In another tweet last week, the organization highlighted the plight of one of the families swept affected by the policy. "The consequences of family separation will far out-last this administration," the ACLU noted.

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