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Trump Admin. Is Trying To Locate Parents Of 545 Children Separated At Border; 11 Of Those Children Are Waiting In Mass.

Demonstrators gather outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston to protest the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents when they arrive at the U.S. border without authorization on June 14, 2018. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston to protest the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents when they arrive at the U.S. border without authorization on June 14, 2018. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Trump administration is still trying to locate the parents of 545 children who were separated from one another at the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of the now defunct family separation policy. According to the ACLU of Massachusetts, 11 of those children made their way to sponsors in the state while the government continues the effort of locating their parents.

It's unclear whether the children in Massachusetts are living with relatives or foster families, but both scenarios are options when the federal government places unaccompanied minors.

These children did not arrive at the border alone, but instead were separated from their parents during the administration's so-called "zero tolerance" policy, which was meant to deter people from attempting to illegally cross the border. Reports of the separations resulted in protests across the country.

"What has happened is horrific," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, told NPR. "Some of these children were just babies when they were separated. Some of these children may now have been separated for more than half their lives. Almost their whole life, they have not been with their parents."

Thousands of families have been reunited since a federal judge in California issued an order in 2018. Last year, the same judge expanded the class action suit to include more than 1,000 additional children who were separated from their parents during a pilot phase of the Trump policy that started in 2017.

The ACLU says an additional 16 children included in that expanded class, whose parents have been identified, have been released to sponsors in Massachusetts. It's unclear whether these children will remain in the state or be reunited with family in their countries of origin.

In 2018, members of the state's Congressional delegation visited the U.S.-Mexico border to investigate the reunification process after Trump ended the practice of family separation, a policy his own administration crafted, by issuing an executive order.

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Shannon Dooling Twitter Reporter
Shannon Dooling is an immigration reporter at WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.

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