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Trump administration says ACLU — not government — should find deported parents

A mother and son from Guatemala hold hands during a news conference June 22, 2018, following their reunion in Linthicum, Md., after being separated at the U.S. border.

ACLU lawyers argued that the Trump administration is trying to shirk its responsibility by passing its work off to private groups despite its own considerable resources.

“Not only was it the government’s unconstitutional separation practice that led to this crisis, but the United States Government has far more resources than any group of NGOs (no matter how many NGOs and law firms are willing to help),’” they wrote.

The ACLU attorneys said they “hope that the Government will take significant and prompt steps to find the parents on their own.”

The ACLU lawyers also complained that the government is not even sharing information it already has on parents who have been deported, mostly to the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They wrote that they found at least 12 parents who were already in contact with U.S. government officials, proving that the administration has established contact information with some deported parents but didn’t pass that information along to the ACLU.

Even when information is being shared, the ACLU argues that it’s only coming in pieces. Some addresses for parents list only a street, some merely a city.

It remains unclear what will happen when the parents are located. They could waive their right to be reunified and allow their children to remain in the U.S. to fight for legal status. But the ACLU is asking Sabraw to give parents the additional option of flying back to the U.S. to consult with lawyers and their children, a proposal that Trump administration officials have refused.

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