Judge: Trump team '100 percent responsible' for reuniting migrant families

Judge: Trump team '100 percent responsible' for reuniting migrant families
© Screenshot/ABC News

A federal judge said Friday that the Trump administration is "100 percent" responsible for reuniting migrant families separated at the southern border as a result of its "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said during a phone hearing that the administration's efforts to track down migrant families it divided was "unacceptable," according to CNN.

Sabraw added that the government risks making children "permanently orphaned" if it does not track down migrant parents. 

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"The reality is there are still close to 500 parents that have not been located, many of these parents were removed from the country without their child, all of this is the result of the government's separation and then inability and failure to track and reunite," Sabraw said, according to CNN. 

"And the reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of of the administration," he said.

The comments from Sabraw come a day after the Trump administration argued that the the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonprofit organization that is representing plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the administration over the separations, should use their "considerable resources" to help find the parents. 

“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 department said in a court filing on Thursday.

The ACLU countered that the administration “must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents.” 

CNN noted that Sabraw also ordered the administration to submit a comprehensive plan on how it will reunify children with parents that were either deported or released in the U.S.

"In reviewing the status report it appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located, which is just unacceptable at this point," Sabraw said, CNN reported.

The development comes about a week after the deadline passed for the government to reunite separated families. Hundreds of children remain separated from their parents as of Friday.