Trump Administration Admits It Still Hasn’t Found the Parents of 71 Migrant Children

The ACLU is concerned about “rumors…that mass deportations may be carried out imminently.”

Ever Reyes Mejia is reunited with his 3-year-old son at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last week.Cory Morse/AP

The Trump administration has not yet identified the parents of 71 children who it believes are separated from their parents. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, parents have been identified for 2,480 other such children in federal custody, all of whom are between the ages of 5 and 17.

Last month, Dana Sabraw, a federal judge in California, ordered the administration to reunite separated families by July 26. On Monday, HHS official Jonathan White acknowledged in a hearing with Sabraw that the administration has not yet identified the parents of 71 children aged 5 to 17. The disclosure is the latest sign families were separated without a clear plan to track or reunite parents and children.

The American Civil Liberties Union obtained last month’s reunification order, and on Monday the organization asked Sabraw to order the Trump administration to wait one week before deporting parents once they are reunified with their children. Sabraw issued a stay temporarily blocking the government from deporting reunified parents while the administration responds to the ACLU’s motion.

The ACLU requested the seven day waiting period following “persistent and increasing rumors—which Defendants have refused to deny—that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification.”