The Trump administration has identified 471 parents who were removed from the United States without their children, according to court documents.
The court documents filed Wednesday are part of the ongoing family separation class action lawsuit Ms. L et al. vs. Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al.
The government was requested to provide the numbers as a baseline of how many parents were removed from the country without their children and “without being given the opportunity to elect or waive reunification.”
The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in February 2018 after a Congolese woman was separated by more than 1,000 miles from her 7-year-old child while seeking asylum in the United States.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary junction in June preventing most families from being separated and ordering families that have been separated to be reunited.
“At a minimum, the facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates [immigrants’] constitutional right to family integrity,” Sabraw wrote in his ruling.
Wednesday’s court filing states that as of Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has discharged 2,741 of 2,816 children from its care, an increase of six children since Feb. 20.
Four children are being processed to be reunited with their families, it said, adding that the government has been working with a steering committee to resolve outstanding issues regarding the separation of families.
The filing also states that the steering committee had “successfully contacted and confirmed the preferences of nearly all removed parents with respect to reunification.”
The document was filed on the same day Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security defended President Donald Trump’s border security and immigration policies, stating that half of those entering the country illegally were members of a family.