A federal judge determined that it is appropriate to widen the class action lawsuit to include those families separated at the border before the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” was officially launched in 2018.
Prompted by a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the legality of separating families, this greatly increases the number of families impacted and protected by this suit.
Separation began earlier than thought
The reason for this ruling was that the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) found that the practice of separating families began at least a year earlier than the courts knew, and thus it expanded the dates to include July 1, 2017, to June 25, 2018. According to reports, this ruling could affect thousands of children with a total of 47,083 children passing through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is the agency within the USDHHS that handles the care of migrant children who are separated from their parents or arrive without parents.
The government says it is too much work
Government officials defended their actions and stated that adding the additional children to a list would take too long and the burden would be too great to go through and identify all the children separated. The judge rejected that analysis, stating that the process will be burdensome, but it can be done. To not do it would unfairly single out those who arrived before the zero-tolerance policy was in place.
Get the help your family needs
Anyone who has lost track of family members because governmental negligence is advised to speak with an experienced immigration law attorney. They can work with clients involved in this class action or other matters to resolve issues of separated families as they begin their lives here in the United States.