Brief #105 – Immigration

By Kathryn Baron

Children Remain Separated from their Families, as Election Nears

October 28, 2020

Policy Summary

In June 2018, a Federal Judge in San Diego delivered an order that children in government custody were to be reunited with their families. Volunteers, human rights defenders, and attorneys have worked tirelessly to locate and reunite families, but 545 children remain separated still. These children were separated from their families between July 2017 and June 2018. It is estimated that two-thirds of the parents of these remaining 545 were deported and sent back to their home countries without their children.


Efforts to locate still-separated family members has been hindered by recent COVID-19 lockdowns and social-distancing measures both in the US and abroad. Volunteers have gone door to door in Guatemala and Honduras – where many of these parents are believed to be – as US government tracking systems had proven to be subpar. The US government failed to maintain accurate, reliable, and comprehensive data surrounding children separated from their parents at the US Southern Border under the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. In addition to this shortcoming, there are local roadblocks in Guatemala and Honduras that volunteers have faced: remote villages and limited access to technology, gang-controlled regions, and most recently, COVID-19.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Centers for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
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