On April 25, 2019, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration has six months to track down and account for thousands more children and parents who might have been separated at the U.S. / Mexico border. Under the zero-tolerance policies initiated by the administration last year, adults who entered the country illegally were criminally prosecuted and separated from any children accompanying them. The detained children were then placed in either shelters or foster care, often being sent hundreds or thousands of miles away from their parents for weeks or longer.
Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California ordered the government to come up with a plan to account for the additional children and their families after a report released earlier in the year revealed more children had been separated than initially reported by the Trump administration. The report blamed the unreported separations on “a lack of coordinated formal tracking among the various federal agencies involved.”
Although Judge Sabraw approved of the government’s plan for identifying additional children, he did not agree with the proposal to have the task completed within two years. Instead, Sabraw said the task of accounting for the children must be finished within six months, or by October 25, “subject to modification upon a showing of good cause.”
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