At least one child being held in an immigrant detention center after being taken from their family may actually be a U.S. citizen — and the government has lost track of their parents, court filings show.
As the U.S. government missed a court-ordered deadline to reunite the youngest children with their parents, the legal news website Law and Crime reported on a court filing that shows at least one of the children being held in detention centers is not an illegal immigrant at all.
The filing noted that the government is unable to find some of the parents of the children taken and sent to detention centers, including one case where all involved are actually U.S. citizens.
“1 child cannot be reunified at this time because the parent’s location has been unknown for more than a year. Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be U.S. citizens.”
The report noted that only four of the 102 children under the age of 5 who were supposed to be reunited on Tuesday were successfully reunited with their families ahead of the deadline, with dozens more expected to be returned to their parents by the end of Tuesday. Not all would be returned, with estimates that more than half would remain in detention centers while the government tried to locate their parents. The government argued that the progress showed they were in compliance with the court order, even if the deadline was missed, but plaintiffs argued otherwise.
The report that Trump’s policy may have detained a U.S. citizen drew considerable criticism to a policy already marked with controversy. A few months after announcing that his administration would undertake a “zero tolerance” policy that took children from their parents, Trump was forced to back away from the policy after drawing international outrage.
When he was asked about the missed deadline, President Donald Trump blamed the immigrants who entered the United States illegally.
“That’s the solution,” Trump said (via the Chicago Sun Times). “Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”
Trump also blamed Democrats for wanting “open borders,” though critics have noted that both Democrats and Republicans have offered bipartisan immigration reform, which the president has rejected. Donald Trump did not make mention of the child in a detention center who may actually be a U.S. citizen, and the children of two U.S. citizens.