Trump Administration Has Separated 900 More Children From Their Parents, Says ACLU

An ACLU lawsuit argues that the government is using minor criminal histories to take children from their parents.


Over 900 children were separated from their parents at the border between June 28, 2018 and June 29, 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued Tuesday in a new lawsuit against the Trump administration.

Filed in the U.S. District Court of San Diego, the suit says that families are still being separated, even after the same court issued an injunction against the practice in June of last year. According to the ACLU, the federal government has been taking children away from their parents "based on minor criminal history, highly dubious allegations of unfitness, and errors in identifying bona fide parent-child relationships."

Attorneys for the ACLU argue that the Trump administration has quietly weaponized exceptions for parental criminal records made under the injunction in order to systematically continue family separations. The nonprofit is subsequently requesting that a federal judge issue more concrete guidance on the conditions under which removing a child from his or her parents is permissible.

"It is shocking that the Trump administration continues to take babies from their parents," Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney on the lawsuit, said in a statement Tuesday. "Over 900 more families join the thousands of others previously torn apart by this cruel and illegal policy. The administration must not be allowed to circumvent the court order over infractions like minor traffic violations."

The federal government is now circumventing "traditional due process and child custody standards," the suit says, in order to maintain President Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy meant to dissuade migrants from crossing the border.

The lawsuit comes amid an onslaught of immigration headaches for the Trump administration. Most recently, media reports widely criticized conditions at border detention facilities, where detainees, including children, are crammed into crowded cages and denied showers and hygiene products. Trump has also implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, which requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while waiting for their immigration court date. The labor union for federal asylum officers said that, under the directive, migrants now "face persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group."

The latter measure is closely related to Trump's zero-tolerance approach, which his administration argued was required by the 1997 Flores agreement. The terms of that court settlement, they said, mandate a 100 percent prosecution rate for all illegal border crossers. That mandate, in turn, means children are not permitted to stay with their parents in detention centers while their parents await trial.

But as Ilya Somin points out at Reason, "federal officials inevitably have vast discretion in determining which offenses to pursue and to what degree." Illegal entry is a misdemeanor carrying a sentence less than that of marijuana possession. Even former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued for the 100 percent prosecution rate, would find it infeasible and wasteful to prosecute every single person ever found with marijuana.

Ironically, the Flores agreement also dictates that the government "place each detained minor in the least restrictive setting appropriate" and that they be placed with a family member or guardian "without unnecessary delay." It further says that the government will "treat all minors in its custody with dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors." But as Somin says, being separated from your parents—over something as minuscule as a traffic infraction—is hardly a display of dignity.

NEXT: Democrats Need To Talk About Immigrants as Assets, Not Supplicants Needing Handouts

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  1. Come to the country illegally, commit a crime, and oh my God they want to deport you. The humanity.

    1. “3 felonies a day” is a “thing”. Google it! OMG, you crossed an imaginary line in the sand! Off with yer head!!!

      1. The book has nothing to do with immigration, fucktard. Try reading it

        1. The very beginning of this article says…

          “Over 900 children were separated from their parents at the border …”

          AT THE BORDER, can you read? Borders? Immigration? Hello?

          1. So, what should we do? You want to keep minors in the “concentration camps” with their parents?
            Of course not; you want the entire family to just be let go, to join the other 20 million invaders ruining our schools, driving without a licence or insurance, going to the emergency room for routine problems while driving up medical costs for the rest of us. (And of course, once word of this pooicy gets out, I’m sure there won’t be a huge spike in kidnappings and child trafficking.) You want, in practice, an open border. Americans have a right to determine how many, and which, people are allowed into our nation. Or is the concept of citizenship too difficult for you to grasp?

            1. I want Government Almighty to get smaller, not bigger!

              For some unknown reason, the kind of people who get their bowels in an uproar of spewed hatred towards illegal sub-humans, can never find time to address this following argument (Maybe it is too complex for them to “grok”):
              The collective hive mandated WAY too many licenses, before we’re allowed to earn an honest living… Put too many of us into poverty. To “help” with this poverty problem that The Collective Hive created, The Collective Hive gave us welfare. Welfare then attracts too many illegal sub-humans, sometimes, so to fix THAT problem, The Collective Hive now wants e-verify and giant border walls and giant border armies… And now also property confiscations for wall-building… So I suppose The Collective Hive will next fire up the military draft to fix THAT problem! (Lack of a large enough wall-and-army forces).
              When will we stop the perpetual cycle of Government Almighty always getting bigger, to fix the LAST batch of problems created by excessive Government Almighty?

              1. I want Government Almighty to get smaller, not bigger!

                You keep saying that, but you always seem to support the positions on the side of making Government Almighty into the totality of existence.

                Perhaps English is not your first language?

                1. All rightee then!

                  I’m busted!
                  You’re disgusted!
                  I can’t be trusted!

                  And you have exposed me for the Government Almighty worshipper that I truly am! Kudos for you!

                  Here, THIS is how my Deep Faith tells me that Government Almighty should properly be worshipped:

                  “Government Almighty, giveth, and Government Almighty taketh away; blessed be the name of Government Almighty.”

                  Let’s give it up for Government Almighty!!!

                  Dearest Government Almighty:
                  Our Nannies, who art in D.C.,
                  Hallowed by Thy Names!
                  Thy Wokeness come,
                  Thy Will be done,
                  Everywhere, as it is in D.C.
                  Give us permission to be,
                  And forgive us our 3 felonies per day,
                  As we bake cakes for those who are gay.
                  Lead us not into incorrectness,
                  But deliver us from un-wokeness.
                  For Thine is the Empire and the power and the glory,
                  Forever and ever and ever! Amen!

                  1. Neat how SQRLSY forswears big government but supports policy that necessitates it.

                    1. Retard, excessive OCD-style micro-management of inspecting-permitting every organism that crosses a border, requires a big Government Almighty. Period! Is that hard for morons to grasp?

      2. Not. Gonna lie, of all the ridiculous excuses for complaining about this, the “imaginary lines” is my all-time fave. The borders to my property are invisible lines too. Guess I have no right to evict/remove trespassers.

        1. Some lines are ethically and morally OK, some are not. Internationally, most nations have agreed that property lines are not permissible in Antarctica, the moon, Mars, etc. Was this an evil decision?

          Property lines (mobile ones) were drawn around slaves, in slave-holding days. Was this OK?

          Now let’s talk ETHICS and MORALITY. WHO told you that vastly different rights for legal humans v/s illegal humans is a totally OK thing?

          I know how to treat others the way that I would like to be treated. It’s that simple. “Others” includes those that evil people like to call illegal sub-humans, and so forth. If “others to be treated as we like to be treated”, in your “ethics”, does NOT include those born on the wrong side of the railroad tracks (river, mountains, invisible lines in the sand, yada-yada), then WHERE did you get your so-called “ethics”? God? Evolution? The cosmos? Karma? Democracy? Keep in mind that our “democracy” has blessed slavery, Jim Crow, no votes for women, concentration camps for Japanese-Americans, and on and on…
          I have repeatedly asked this question (especially with regards to illegal humans), and I NEVER get answers from the bigots!!!

    2. Bootlickers like you make me sick.

  2. How many articles has Reason published about CPS taking kids for the flimsiest of reasons? Dragging a kid 2,000 miles to illegally enter another country seems a bit iffy.

    1. Hey….at least they aren’t caterwauling over a guy being punished for cooking his kids to death.

    2. But on the other story I learned they are assets.

      1. They added that ‘t’ for some reason….

    3. Dragging a kid 2,000 miles

      If a legal citizen did that, they’d have their children taken by the local CPS.

  3. I love that having “discretion” means one is obligated to use it.

    These people are lying, by and large, about asylum requests. Why do they warrant ANY discretion?

    Want discretion? Have Congress pass a law obligating it. Otherwise, law is being followed.

    “But it’s mean”. Yeah, so is the treatment of people by big tech and Reason could give two shits about that. Maybe if Twitter only banned illegals.

  4. OT: Farmers have TDS.

    The White House recently announced that it would be providing an additional $16 billion in aid to American farmers affected by the trade war between the U.S. and China.

    But the problem for American farmers has becomes bigger than something a bailout can fix.

    “This trade thing is what’s brought on by the president and it’s really frustrating because he took away all of our markets,” Bob Nuylen, a farmer from North Dakota who grows spring wheat and sunflowers, told Yahoo Finance.

    “Our prices are probably as low as I’ve seen them in a long time,” he told Yahoo Finance. “We were losing just about $70 an acre just by putting our crop in [the ground] this spring.”

    1. They should learn to code.

      1. Everyone should, really. It’s a good skill to have.

        1. Der TrumpfenFuhrer should learn to code, to make money in an honest manner, and STOP being a parasite!

          Yes!!! See…

          The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet

          All Hail to THE Pussy Grabber in Chief!!!

          I fundamentally think that a huge percentage of Trump voters (who bothered to study up in the slightest) voted for a Pussy-Grabber in Chief who would pussy-grab for them, on behalf of them and theirs! If PGC (Pussy-Grabber in Chief) could pussy-grab the people whose loans he defaulted on, people who’d been ripped off by his “school”, and illegal humans who’d worked on building his buildings, and on and on, then SURELY the PGC can grab some pussy for us selfish, short-sighted voters! We can pussy-grab our international trade partners, and other nations, races, and creeds in general!

          These voters simply cannot or will not recognize the central illusion of politics… You can pussy-grab all of the people some of the time, and you can pussy-grab some of the people all of the time, but you cannot pussy-grab all of the people all of the time! Sooner or later, karma catches up, and the others will pussy-grab you right back!

          1. Huh. I usually ignore you, but for some reason (drink!) you’re annoying the hell out of me tonight.
            So, grab this, you pussy.

  5. What if I told the ACLU that each of these 900 kids had refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony? I wonder how quickly the ACLU Would drop the case.

    1. I don’t know how many have refused, but I’d be willing to bet that almost none have actually baked a gay wedding cake. Except for Rosa, who baked a wondeful cake for her gay grandson Jose when he did a cermony with Raul.

      1. Except she first offered the cake to Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte and Mictēcacihuātl along with Raul’s soul.

  6. And how many natural-born or naturalized Americans were separated from their children today by being put into county jails?

    I’ll bet other countries do this too. Why oh why is it only a scandal when it involves border violators?

    1. Why oh why are you only pointing this out now, or your sock?!?!?!

      Excuses for your passive aggressiveness?

    2. +10

  7. Since the United States is now taking in about 280,000 asylum seekers in a year, separating about 900 children from abusive/criminal circumstances doesn’t seem like an unreasonable number at all. In fact, statistically, the number should probably be higher.

  8. I still haven’t heard any followup from last year re whether those kids then were ever reunited with parents. Last I heard 200 kids were being held here whose parents had already been deported and the govt was refusing to try to find those parents back in their home country. Good for the ACLU for keeping up with the issue – cuz the media sure as hell ain’t.

  9. American Civil Liberties Union.

    Keys words “American” and “Civil Liberties”

    Illegal immigrants are NOT American and immigration into the USA is NOT a civil right.

  10. I wish the ACLU would get this upset when US citizens are murdered by illegals…now there’s a permanent family separation.

  11. Over 900 children were separated from their parents at the border between June 28, 2018 and June 29, 2019

    And? That’s what happens when parents commit a crime. They are necessarily separated.

  12. Remember when the ACLU cared about civil liberties and not phony left wing demagoguery.

  13. Their parents are criminals.

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