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A Federal Judge Just Ordered Trump To Return Every Kidnapped Child To Their Families

Last summer, a US court ordered the Trump administration to reunite the thousands of migrant families it cruelly separated at the border. However, a new report found that thousands more migrant children were ripped from their parents than previously believed. In response, a federal judge dropped the hammer on the Trump team.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw — an appointee of President George W. Bush — ruled on Friday that the Trump administration must now return all the children who were separated from their families on or before July 1, 2017, Talking Point Memo reports.

The judge’s ruling came after an internal watchdog for the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that thousands of more children were separated from their parents at the border, beginning in summer 2017 — far earlier than previously thought.

Still, the Trump administration tried to fight against the expanded ruling, telling Sabraw last month that it’s a “significant burden” to identify the children’s families, arguing that the administration has “done all things to correct the wrong.”

Sabraw, however, was not convinced.

In his order demanding that the children be reunited with their families, Sabraw wrote:

“The hallmark of a civilized society is measured by how it treats its people and those within its borders. That defendants may have to change course and undertake additional effort to address these issues does not render modification of the class definition unfair; it only serves to underscore the unquestionable importance of the effort and why it is necessary (and worthwhile).”

The Trump administration, for its part, has fought Sabraw’s reunification orders at every turn, missing deadlines and complaining about the “burden” reunification would put on the administration.

Sabraw, however, has had none of it, criticizing the Trump administration’s incompetence and cruelty that led the children to be taken from their parents in the first place.

“All of this is the result of the government’s separation, and then inability and failure to track and reunite,” Sabraw wrote in an August 2018 ruling ordering the Trump administration to reunite families.

Ultimately, the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to child separations has been an utter disaster that top administration officials like DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have been unable to adequately defend.

Just last week, Nielsen claimed she had no idea that separating kids from their parents would be traumatizing — an idea that is backed up not only by research but also by common sense. And she tried to say that the cages the government has been using to hold migrants, including some children, are nothing like dog cages because they are “larger.”

And family reunification has only been so difficult because the Trump administration was so careless in its accounting when they did rip kids from their parents.

It may take time, but Judge Sabraw is not stopping in his quest to ensure these children are returned to their rightful guardians.

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