U.S. Wants Help Finding Parents Deported Without Their Children

The U.S. government told a federal court judge that volunteers and non-profit groups, rather than government officials, should take the lead in locating more than 400 immigrant parents who were separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border and deported from the United States.

The proposal came in a San Diego Federal Court lawsuit challenging some 2,500 family separations initiated by the Trump administration as part of its “zero tolerance” policy to curb illegal immigration.

In its plan for reuniting those families, attorneys from the Department of Justice said that the government would supply what information it had about the deported parents to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

At that point, the filing said, “plaintiffs’ counsel should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others,” to establish contact with deported parents and determine their wishes.

Advocates Say Immigrant Child Died After Leaving ICE Custody

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said it had learned of the death of a child shortly after the child and parent left the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) family detention center at Dilley, Texas, though there were few details about what actually happened. ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said that the agency would investigate the report, “but without any specifics about who this was we are unable to provide anything further at this time.” ICE denied that a child died at the detention center.

The story began to spread after Houston-based lawyer Mana Yegani tweeted that she had heard reports “that a child died in ICE custody in Dilley, Texas.” Yegani then followed up to say she heard the child had actually died after leaving Dilley. She would delete her original tweet. Yegani said that she based her tweets off a Facebook post written by another lawyer, Melissa Turcios.

Turcios, confirmed to The Associated Press that she wrote the Facebook post Yegani saw, but declined to comment further. Her post said the granddaughter of a friend of hers died “as a result of negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch and the Dilley Pro Bono Project, which represents families held at the facility, both said they did not know how the child had died or whether medical care in the facility was to blame.