The lawyers have not been able to get in touch with the parents of 545 children who had got separated from their families by the US border officials between 2017 and 2018, as per a court filing on Tuesday. Hundreds of parents might also have got deported without their children.
The filing from the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union is part of an ongoing attempt to find out and reunite the families separated by the Donald Trump administration, over two years after the 'zero tolerance' policy got created.
While a federal court order forced the reunification of most of the families a report by a government watchdog released last year stated that there might be thousands more who had not previously been accepted by the officials.
Parents of Separated Children Not Found
A 'steering committee' appointed by the court has attempted to locate the families. As per the latest updates, the committee has tried to reach the families of 1,030 children. Out of those, the committee was not able to get in touch with the separated parents of 545 children, as per the court filing.
Around two-thirds of the parents are thought to have got deported without their children, the filing added. The children were earlier released from government custody and almost all are probably in the US with a sponsor. While the coronavirus or COVID-19 has affected the reunification process, the attorneys have restarted the ground attempts to locate the families.
"Following a suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited physical on-the-ground searches for separated parents has now resumed where possible to do so while protecting the health of personnel working with the Steering Committee and members of vulnerable communities in separated parents' home countries," the filing read as reported by CNN.
"Even before Covid, it was hard enough finding these families but we will not stop until we've found everyone. Some of these children have been separated for years and were just babies at the time," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said.