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Parents of 545 Migrant Children Separated by Trump Admin Can’t Be Found, Lawyers Say

Hundreds of migrant parents separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border have yet to be found, with the majority of them deported to Central America while their children remained in the U.S., according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In a document filed Tuesday in federal court in San Diego, ACLU lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify more than 1,000 families separated under a pilot program in 2017 said the parents of 545 children are still missing, NBC News reported.

The Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border, but acknowledged it actually began separating families the previous year in Texas under the pilot program.

“It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, NBC News reported.

ACLU said while that it and other pro-bono law firms searched for the parents separated from their children during the pilot program, roughly two-thirds of them had already been deported before a federal court ordered the search.

“There is so much more work to be done to find these families. People ask when we will find all of these families, and sadly, I can’t give an answer. I just don’t know,” Gelernt said, NBC reported. “But we will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes. The tragic reality is that hundreds of parents were deported to Central America without their children, who remain here with foster families or distant relatives.”

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