In what has been deemed a “remarkable court filing,” the U.S. government has basically attempted to wash their hands of the responsibility of following through on the order of U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw to reunite children with their deported parents. Government attorneys stated in court that the ACLU should instead perform the task as they have considerable networks to do so. Currently, it is believed that there are still 410 children that have not been reunified with their parents that are being represented in this suit against the U.S. government.
The ACLU has maintained that they are eager to help reunify these broken families, as reported by CNN. However most legal analyst, as well as Judge Sabraw, are not taking kindly to this attempt to pass the buck. The government made what some have cited as being claims that are “patently ridiculous,” to “unthinkable.” While Judge Sabraw has not weighed in publicly with statements on the record, those in attendance at the hearing have stated that the judge appeared to be none too pleased with what amounted to yet another request to delay holding the government responsible to follow the directives of his lawful order to have this reunification process completed.
Last week, Judge Sabraw ordered the government to work with the ACLU to come up with a plan to reunite the families, as the government has failed to complete the process on their own. Over the course of that week, government attorneys continually gave indications they had no intention of following through on that order. When they appeared in court and it became evident that they had not, and instead said it should be the ACLU’s job to clean up the mess, Judge Sabraw was said to have taken exception to his directive being flouted. KQED posted the government’s suggestion.
“[ACLU Lawyers] should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGO’s, volunteers and others, together with the information that [the U.S. government]… provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries.”
The government further claimed, as reported by KQED, that it is likely that the parents of the children still in U.S. custody are probably unfit to be parents, or that they wanted to be separated from their children and removed from the country. They further stated that the ACLU should track them down, get their written depositions showing their “final, unequivocal, written confirmation” that they want their children back, and then provide that information to the government who will screen those people to deem whether or not they should have their children back as some may have a criminal record. According to CNN, a government official said that the purpose of the filing was trying to get the ACLU to do their job.
“An administration official said Thursday evening that the filing simply asks the court to require the ACLU to determine the wishes of and fulfill their obligations to their clients, as they have repeatedly represented in court that they would.”
“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 (no matter how many NGOs and law firms are willing to help).”
The ACLU as well as other human rights organizations have weighed in stating that it is ridiculous that the U.S. government is not only saying they are not responsible for the fallout of their own child separation policy, but that they are saying they don’t have the resources to follow through on the lawful order handed down to them as per USA Today. ACLU lawyers further complained the government isn’t actually sharing any data that is useful, as many addressees of deportees are just a street name.