Yesterday, ahead of today's 1:00 p.m. PST conference call, the Department of Justice filed a status report (see pp.3-4) in the federal court of the Southern District of California, suggesting that the responsibility for finding deported parents for the purposes of reunification with their children rests on... the ACLU.
DOJ argues that the ACLU is better positioned to locate the parents because of its “considerable resources” and extensive networks of volunteers, attorneys, and like-minded organizations. Once they have been located, the DOJ is offering to facilitate communication between parents and their minor children who remain in federal custody.
To repeat: The government of the United States of America is suggesting (a) that it does not bear responsibility for reuniting the families it separated through detention and deportation and (b) that it does not have the financial or administrative resources to so.
The ACLU is, to be sure, a well-funded organization. However, a quick perusal of public records shows a fund balance of $118 million for the ACLU while the Department of Justice has $29 or so billion in discretionary budget authority.
Here is a brief comparative breakdown:
In light of the above, the government's claim seems dubious.
One might surmise that the government is admitting either to incompetence or to what many have charged all along – namely, that the Trump administration intended family separations to be permanent from the beginning and thus has no motivation to establish procedures and best practices for reunification.
Want to take action? Call the attorneys who authored this court filing:
Sarah Fabian, Senior Litigation CounselNicole Murley, Trial AttorneyDOJ Office of Immigration Litigation(202) 532-4824
Adam Braverman, US AttorneySamuel Bettwy, AUSAOffice of the US Attorney, Southern District of California(619) 546-7125