In the year since a judge ordered major reduction of children being separated from their parents at the border, over 900 children have been separated from their families. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sharing their troubling findings in a new legal action.
The ACLU is saying that the administration is separating children from their families over " dubious allegations and minor transgressions" that include traffic offenses. It also asks a judge to rule on whether or not all 911 separations between June 28th, 2018 and June 29th of this year have been justified.
In June 2018 U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered that the practice of separating children from their parents stop, except in circumstances like child endangerment. Additionally, the judge allowed the administration to use their discretion on individual decisions. Some of those decisions can be considered frivolous, American parents would never lose their children for such minor infractions.
“It is shocking that the Trump administration continues to take babies from their parents,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt via USA Today. “The administration must not be allowed to circumvent the court order over infractions like minor traffic violations," they added.
The ACLU is sharing some of the cases in which children got separated from their parents and it's astonishing to see what they consider a valid reason. In one case, a child was taken away from their parents because the parent damaged property with a value of $5. Another child, a one-year-old, was taken away from her father because he let her sleep in a wet diaper.
Using reports from the administration for their findings, the ACLU is asking Judge Sabraw to order the government to justify the separations of the past year. Additionally, they are asking for clarification on the criteria being used to make decisions.
Another case shared involved a four-year-old boy who was separated from his family because his father's speech impediment made it hard for him to answer questions. The child was removed from the family despite clear evidence of his parentage. Another girl, just two-years-old was separated from her father because Customs and Border Patrol thought her birth certificate was fraudulent. Her father only speaks and indigenous language and was not given an interpreter. He had to take a paternity test to prove that he was the father.
Other stories included children being taken from their mothers because of alleged gang activity. But it turns out that the mothers were not actually criminals but victims. These women were forced into gang activity or accused of gang ties due to abusive relationships or sexual abuse. One woman turned in the drugs she was being forced to carry but was labeled a criminal.
The Justice Department did not comment on the ACLU's requests.