Following reports that the parents of hundreds of migrant children cannot be located, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that many deported parents don’t want their children to be returned to them.
NBC News had reported Tuesday that the parents of 545 migrant children cannot be found, according to American Civil Liberties Union filings.
“This narrative has been dispelled on numerous occasions,” DHS spokesman Chase Jennings told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
“DHS has taken every step to facilitate the reunification of these families where the parents wanted such reunification to occur.
“The simple fact is this: after contact has been made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused,” Jennings said.
It is not clear if the parents of all 545 children have been contacted.
Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California in July 2018 ordered the Trump administration to assist ACLU lawyers in locating the so-called “missing parents” after 2017 DHS data showed that more than 1,000 families had been separated by deportations.
Since then, the ACLU and other organizations have been able to successfully contact the deported parents of more than 550 children.
But Jennings said they haven’t found any deported parents who want to reclaim their children in their native countries.
“They have yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country of origin,” Jennings said.
“The result is that the children remain in the U.S. while the parents remain in their home country.”
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project told NBC News that “some” deported parents preferred their children to stay in the U.S. “due to fear of what will happen to their child” if returned to their home countries.
The report Wednesday evening sparked outrage from prominent Democratic leaders.
“Vote for these children and these families, and for all the children and families we could spare this pain by voting Trump out,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted, “These children may never see their parents again. Ever. All because of a pointless, heartless policy. Horrific, cruel, and inhumane.”
These children may never see their parents again. Ever.
All because of a pointless, heartless policy.
Horrific, cruel, and inhumane.https://t.co/QeJxw9ZBFN
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 21, 2020
“More than 2 years later and 545 children are STILL left without their parents. Horrific,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted.
More than 2 years later and 545 children are STILL left without their parents. Horrific. https://t.co/3Czleg1n7v
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 21, 2020
Content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of their original content, please contact email@example.com.
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.