It could take another two years to find all the kids Trump's team kidnapped while implementing their family separation policy.
The Trump administration told a federal judge Friday that it could take up to two years just to locate all the children they ripped away from families in late 2017 and early 2018. One of the reasons it will take so long is due to the high number of children the Trump administration took.
The two-year timeframe was tucked into a court filing submitted Friday by lawyers for Trump's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an ongoing lawsuit with the ACLU over reuniting separated families. The ACLU already forced a reluctant Trump administration to reunite nearly 2,800 children with their families.
But in January 2019, the HHS inspector general released a report saying that thousands more children than previously known may have been torn away from their families from July 2017 through June 2018. The ACLU went back to court to demand Trump's team return those kidnapped children as well.
The 24-month timeframe just to identify stolen children did not sit well with ACLU lawyers.
"The government’s proposed plan reflects the administration’s continuing refusal to treat these separations with the urgency they deserve," Lee Gelernt, the ACLU's lead attorney, told NBC News. "The government was able to quickly gather resources to tear these children away from their families and now they need to gather the resources to fix the damage," he added.
A core tenet in Trump's anti-immigrant crusade was a plan to separate families who came across the southern border without proper documentation. Even if some of these families were legally seeking asylum, Trump instituted a draconian family separation policy which resulted in thousands of children being ripped from their parents' arms. Some children were kept in cages, and the administration was forced to build several baby jails to detain the high number of infants and toddlers.
The goal of the policy was to discourage immigration from certain countries.
The family separation policy eventually ended after national and international outrage. But poor record-keeping by the Trump administration means there may be thousands of kidnapped children living throughout the United States, and the kidnappers don't even know where they all are.
Some parents who had been deported but were desperate to see their children again traveled back to the border and once again claimed asylum. But rather than reunite them with their children, the Trump team locked them up for almost a month.
State-sanctioned kidnapping is cruel enough. But now the Trump administration wants to force parents to wait another two years so they can locate the kids they stole.
Published with permission of The American Independent.