Some 245 immigrant children are still living in government custody, according to the ACLU.
Because Trump decided to rip children from the arms of their parents and forcibly separate families, children have spend an average of 154 days — five months — in government custody.
Some children have spent nearly a year separated from their family.
This data comes from an ACLU analysis of government data provided in mid-October, months after the court-mandated deadline to reunite all eligible children with their families.
“It’s taking forever,” Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead attorney on the lawsuit, told the Washington Post, “and it shouldn’t be taking this long.”
“It is an enormous task, but on the other hand, it’s the United States government,” Gelernt added. “When they really prioritize something, they can get it done.”
Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in the spring, the federal government began essentially kidnapping thousands of immigrant children from parents.
The Trump administration opened “tender age facilities,” a euphemistic term for baby jails, to hold infants and toddlers under the age of five. Before this policy went into effect, the Trump administration knew it was putting children’s health in danger.
One 18-month-old toddler died shortly after being released from government custody.
The policy prompted national and international outrage, eventually forcing Trump to stop kidnapping children. In a stinging rebuke to Trump’s policy, a federal judge, in response to a lawsuit led by the ACLU, ordered the Trump administration to reunite the children with their families.
Yet months after the court-appointed deadline, the ACLU shows that many children are still in government custody.
“The parents of 175 of the children have been deported, the report says, and 125 of them so far have decided to remain in the United States and pursue asylum on their own,” says the Post.
These parents are making “agonizing decisions,” says Gelernt, weighing the child’s danger if they come back to their home country versus the strength of their asylum claim.
While the cruelty of Trump’s family separation policy outraged most, some Republicans defended it.
Pennsylvania’s far-right Rep. Scotty Perry parroted Trump’s lies about human trafficking to defend the draconian border policy. Perry went so far as to lament that immigrant children can only be held in government custody for 20 days.
California’s Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) even introduced legislation to build internment camps to indefinitely detain immigrant families, eerily reminiscent of World War II-style internment camps for Japanese and Japanese-American families.
Undeterred by legal setbacks and inspired by anti-immigrant animosity, the Trump administration is actively looking at new policies that would rip families apart at the border.
The cruelty, it seems, knows no bounds.