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628 Parents of Separated Children are Still Missing. Here’s Why Immigrant Advocates Can’t Find Them.

Rebeca Sanchez Ralda, a Guatemalan lawyer and human rights defender, set out recently on a seemingly impossible task: Locating the missing father of a 4-year-old girl separated in 2017 at the Texas border under the Trump administration’s notorious family separation policy.

A pilot program in 2017 showed that the Trump administration lacked the ability to track children and parents separated at the border, yet the Trump administration chose to expand the program borderwide in 2018 despite knowing that hundreds of children likely would be lost to their families, according to a House Judiciary Committee report released in October.

“There was never this intention to actually record these families in a way that would facilitate reunification,” said Leah Chavla, senior policy adviser in the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, one of the nonprofit groups involved with locating missing parents.

In addition to the Arizona Republic, this article appeared in USA Today, MSN US, MSN New Zealand, the Argus Leader, Lansing State Journal, Naples Daily News, Hattiesburg American, The Asbury Park Press, and Visalia Times Delta.