Story at a glance

  • More than 5,000 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border under the Trump administration.
  • Lawyers and legal representatives have been unable to find the parents for more than 600 of these children.
  • The Trump administration was withholding information that included phone numbers for contact.

Two years after a federal judge ordered the federal government to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, lawyers have been unable to find the parents of more than 600 migrant children.  

New information handed over to legal advocates revealed phone numbers and other information that the Trump administration had withheld, reported NBC News


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"We have been repeatedly asking the Trump administration for any additional data they might have to help locate the families and are only finally getting these new phone numbers and addresses," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, told NBC News. "Unfortunately, it took the issue reaching the level of a presidential debate to move them to give us this data."  

Lawyers have not been able to find the parents of at least 666 separated children, according to an email obtained by NBC News last month. Steven Herzog, the attorney leading efforts to reunite the families, told NBC News the number includes those "for whom the government did not provide any phone number." 

A spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review told NBC news it does not comment on pending litigation. 

"Everyone's been asking whether the Trump administration has been helping to find these families. Not only have they not been helping, but they have been withholding this data forever," Gelernt told NBC News.  


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Published on Dec 04, 2020