The ACLU has asked a California court to force the government to pay for reunification efforts of illegal immigrant families.
The court file reported that detained parents should not be responsible for DNA testing and air fare costs on Thursday.
One complaint reported to the Southern California District Court that a person was required to pay $1,900 to Western Union in order for reunification. Another complaint was about a parent having to cancel a plane ticket for the child after discovering that somebody else paid for the ticket, according to the document.
The ACLU blamed President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for separating children who were otherwise accompanied by parents when crossing the border illegally. The ACLU believes the government should be held liable for reunification costs given that the parents did not choose for the separation.
The order was made against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because the agency has separated children from their parents, according to The Washington Post. It was unclear, however, who was making the parents pay.
Detained children are taken care of by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) once in the United States. (RELATED: Trump Administration Wants To Reunite Families, But It Comes With Trade-Offs)
Adults generally have to pay the government to retrieve unaccompanied minors and the associated travel costs. Mark Greenberg, a previous employee for the ORR, told The Washington Post that the policy usually works, “but makes no sense in the context of helping parents reunify,” adding that the government “wrongfully separated parents and children,” and needs to be corrected quickly correct.
The court file came after San Diego Judge Dana M. Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to reunite more than 2,000 children with their families by July 26.
The administration reunited 57 of 103 children under the age of five, according to the Department of Justice. The remaining children were deemed ineligible for reunification due to safety concerns.
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