For Immediate Release

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ACLU Comment on Scathing Family Separation Watchdog Report

New York, NY - An internal government report released today provides the most comprehensive and damning look yet at the Department of Justice’s role in the Trump administration’s family separation efforts.

The Office of Inspector General report spotlights how top DOJ officials failed to stop even the youngest children from being ripped away from their parents, among other shocking findings.

The American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued to block family separation and immediately reunite families. Thousands of families were torn apart, sparking outrage around the world. Countless families remain separated.

ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt is the lead attorney in the family separation lawsuit and had the following reaction to the new report:

“The barbaric family separation practice was immoral and illegal. At a minimum, Justice Department lawyers should have known the latter. This new report shows just how far the Trump administration was willing to go to destroy these families. Just when you think the Trump administration can’t sink any lower, it does.

“The Biden-Harris administration will inherit the legacy of family separation, and we don’t doubt that more horrific details will continue to emerge. We need them to act with urgency—every day without action makes it harder to find and reunite families.

“The incoming administration must reunite the separated families in the United States, but we cannot stop there. These families deserve citizenship, resources, care, and a commitment that family separation will never happen again.”

Watchdog report:

Case details:


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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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