US may have separated ‘thousands’ more migrant children than previously known, says watchdog

US may have separated 'thousands' more migrant children than previously known, says watchdog

Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the ACLU case said in a statement: “We will be back in court over this latest revelation.”

Congressional Democrats said they have already started investigating the issue and plan to hold oversight hearings.

Separations have also continued since Trump’s June executive order ending ‘zero tolerance.’ At least 118 children were separated between July 1 and November 7, 2018, 82 of them were under the age of 13 and 27 of them under the age of 5, according to the report.

Of those, 65 were separated because the parents had a criminal history but in some cases the agency did not provide the details of that history. Other reasons cited included a parent’s gang affiliation, illness or hospitalization or an adult claiming to be a legal guardian of a child without proof. Anthony Enriquez, director of the unaccompanied minors program at Catholic Charities in New York, said his agency is representing dozens of children who were separated from their parents after June last year.

He said there seems to be no standard for information sharing between the agencies, even months after the government was ordered to reunite many of the families by a court.

“These children are constantly asking, ‘Where is my parent?’,” he said.

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