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Feds: Finding Deported Parents Should Be in ACLU's Hands

DOJ lawyers make the case in a court filing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 8:21 AM CDT
Immigrant children walk in a line outside a shelter in Homestead, Fla., on June 20, 2018.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(Newser) – The American Civil Liberties Union is balking at a request from the federal government to track down the deported parents of an estimated 431 children who remain in the US. "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," say ACLU lawyers, calling on government agents to "take significant and prompt steps to find the parents on their own," per USA Today. In a court document filed Thursday, per CNN, Justice Department lawyers said the ACLU should use its "network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers and others" to track down the parents and report back on whether they desire a reunion or will allow their children to remain in the US to fight for legal status.

The DOJ wants the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of parents separated from their kids, to "simply [be required] to determine the wishes of and fulfill their obligations to their clients, as they have repeatedly represented in court that they would." Politico reports the ACLU contends the addresses logged in US immigration databases are problematic, with no useful information on 120 of more than 500 parents. Some last known locations are given as "calle sin nombre," or "street without a name," per the AP. The ACLU further alleges the government hasn't exactly been forthcoming: It says it tracked down 12 deported parents only to discover the government had already found them. "The government must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents," the group adds. (Read more border separations stories.)

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