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Undocumented migrants waiting to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol on May 15 in McAllen, Tex. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

ACLU lawyers told a federal judge on Tuesday that 911 migrant children have been removed from their parents since last year's court reunification order for separated families, the Washington Post reports.

What's happening: The ACLU urged the judge to clarify when family separation should be allowed, as the organization claims children are being separated for "minor alleged offenses," including traffic violations. The ACLU also asked the federal judge to block the Trump administration from continuing to separate families, per its Tuesday press release.

The backdrop: Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan testified on July 18 that Customs and Border Protection can remove a child from their parent or legal guardian when:

  • The parent or legal guardian poses a danger to the child
  • Is otherwise unfit to care for the child
  • Has a criminal history
  • Has a communicable disease
  • Is transferred to a criminal detention setting for prosecution for a crime other than improper entry to the U.S.
  • CBP is unable to confirm that the adult is actually the parent or legal guardian
  • The child's safety is at risk

McAleenan testified last month that 1 to 3 family separations "occurred out of approximately 1,500 to 3,000 family members apprehended each day," per the Post. He added that separations occur “under very controlled circumstances.”

  • He testified that "DHS rarely detains accompanied children and their parents or legal guardians for longer than approximately twenty days."
  • In at least one case, a migrant child has been detained by CBP in one facility for weeks. That report included instances of sexual abuse and degrading language by CBP officers, as well as unsanitary and crowded conditions.

The big picture: The federal government has reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from their families at the zenith of the "zero tolerance" policy. Federal officials said it could take 2 years for them to identify those children, as they review 47,000 who were referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and then discharged, per the NYT.

Go deeper: Thousands more migrant children may be separated than previously known

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.