Nearly 500 children still in federal custody in border separation case

SAN DIEGO – A status conference in the border separation case being overseen by a San Diego judge will be held Friday afternoon.

Updated figures provided by the federal government in the case show that of the 2,654 children who were separated from their parents, 497 still remain in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, down from 528 last week, according to a joint court filing.

Of those children, 322 have parents who were deported after being separated from their families, according to figures submitted by the government to U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in advance of Friday’s status conference. Of those deported parents, 318 have actually been contacted, the government reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a class-action lawsuit seeking reunification of separated families, said it is continuing to work with the government to identify all children in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody with removed parents in order to ensure that no child or parent is overlooked in the process.

At the urging of Sabraw, the ACLU formed a steering committee to coordinate the location and reunification of class members who have been deported or released into the interior of the United States.