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Immigration Law

ICE Withheld Deported Parents’ Phone Numbers From Lawyers, ACLU Says

Angelina Chapin, Huffington Post, Aug. 9, 2018

"The American Civil Liberties Union told HuffPost that the government finally handed over phone numbers this week for the more than 400 migrant parents who were separated from their children and then deported under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy on immigration. But the organization believes that Immigration and Customs Enforcement deliberately withheld these phone numbers for more than a month, despite the fact that this contact information could have helped reunite many families. Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer in the ACLU’s ongoing lawsuit against ICE, said he thinks the government had access to these phone numbers before the final court-ordered family reunification deadline on June 26 but kept the information to themselves. He said immigration attorneys have told him that this contact information is in children’s case files and that deported parents and their kids have been communicating with one another throughout June and July. “The numbers have been [in the children’s files] for a while, and we should have had them for a while,” Gelernt said. “Every day that we didn’t get them is another day we didn’t track parents down [and] weeks and months, potentially, where kids are potentially by themselves.” "