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BY KATHRYN BERG

February 5, 2019
Children and parents served by Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix
From NBC News: The Trump administration said in a court filing late Friday that reuniting thousands of migrant children separated from their parents may not be "within the realm of the possible." It went on to claim that even if it were possible, it doesn’t have the resources to track down all the children. The filing, by the department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging the administration’s separation of families. The ACLU called the administration’s response “a shocking concession that it can’t easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents, and doesn’t even think it’s worth the time to locate each of them.”
"Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep. And if he finds it, he is happier about it than the ninety-nine that were never lost. In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost." - Matthew 18:10-14
Trump to court:  It may be impossible to find all the children we lost, and even if we could, it would cost too much.
Trump to migrant children: We despise you.


As background: last year the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit - Ms. L vs. ICE -  to challenge the Trump administration over family separation. On June 26, 2018, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction to stop family separations and ordered the government to promptly reunite children with their parents. In his order, Judge Sabraw noted that "the unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.”

In response to the court order, HHS ultimately identified 2,816 separated children in its care who were covered by the court order. But in an HHS Office of Inspector General report, released two weeks ago, HHS officials conceded that there are actually “thousands” more children that were not included in that count, as they were separated from their parents before the order took effect. HHS argues that it should not have to account for or reunite those additional children, and that because of the “limitation of its data systems,” it cannot provide a more precise estimate or specific information about those children's placements. It also argues that it might “destabilize” those children to remove them from their “sponsors” and reunite them with their parents anyway. The ACLU has asked the court to order the administration to account for and reunite all the children separated in 2017. The court is expected to rule later this month.

The forcible separation of migrant children from their parents is a sin, and Trump’s position in the lawsuit is disgraceful. By its failure to even keep track of who and where they are and its refusal to accept responsibility, the administration reveals its contempt for migrant children. Make no mistake: Trump despises these little ones. We should be marching in the streets until they are all reunited with their parents.
Contact your representative and demand that the administration find and reunite all the migrant children it has lost. If you’ve already done so, do it again. And again. In addition, ask your representative to cut the budget for ICE. Our taxpayer dollars should not be subsidizing this shameful policy. Join the ACLU in fighting to reunite these children with their parents.
God, we are haunted by the trauma that our government has inflicted on thousands of children and their families. We ask you to convict the administration with the horror of its ways and to compel it to repent and repair the damage it has caused. Hold these children close; bless them and keep them; let them know that they are not alone. Bless their attorneys and advocates in their efforts to help the children. Comfort their parents and their families and give them the courage to persevere. Amen.
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