As Thursday's deadline to reunite separated families in the wake of President Trump's since-reversed "zero-tolerance" immigration policy looms near, the Trump administration acknowledged in a court filing Monday that more than 460 migrant parents may have been deported without their children — making reunification unlikely

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July 24, 2018 12:16 PM

As Thursday’s deadline to reunite separated families in the wake of President Trump‘s since-reversed “zero-tolerance” immigration policy looms near, the Trump administration acknowledged in a court filing Monday that more than 460 migrant parents may have been deported without their children — making reunification unlikely, The New York Times reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the federal government put forward the joint court filing explaining that 463 parents of migrant children are no longer present in the United States — though their children remain behind in U.S. government shelters.

The report warned that the cases are still “under review” and that the number could change. No reason was given for why the parents were no longer in the country.

People inside a United States Border Patrol Processing Center, in McAllen, Texas.
US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PATROL/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Children listen to speakers during an immigration family separation protest in front of the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. District Court building, in Phoenix on June 18.
Ross D. Franklin/AP/REX/Shutterstock

RELATED: Will Migrant Children Be Reunited with Their Parents? An Immigration Attorney Explains

Trump’s immigration policy separated more than 2,300 migrant children from their parents at the border, prompting national outcry and protests around the world. The policy was ended in June by the president, 72, who had previously claimed that he had no authority to stop the family separations and falsely blamed the policy on the Democrats.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego declared on June 26 that the government had a month to reunite children between the ages of 5 and 17 with their families.

Donald Trump signing his executive order on June 20 to keep families together at the border
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Shutterstock

According to Monday’s filing, only 879 reunifications have occurred so far. The government has just three days to reunite the remaining 1,672 separated children with their families in order to meet the deadline set by Sabraw. But the ACLU and the federal government’s court filing paints this scenario as impossible, Reuters reports.

The Texas Tribune reports that 538 more parents have been cleared for reunification (which means reunions are likely), while 217 others remain in the “reunification unclear” category because they have already been released into the United States and are therefore difficult to locate.

The 463 migrant parents who may have already been deported? They make up a group of 917 parents listed in the “reunification unlikely” category — which includes 260 people not yet eligible due to “further evaluation,” 64 who have prohibitive criminal records, and 130 who waived reunification, The Texas Tribune said.

RELATED VIDEO: President Trump Says He’ll Sign Executive Order Reversing His Child Separation Policy

Thursday is the second court-ordered deadline federal officials have faced to reunite families.

The first deadline was on July 10, for children under the age of 5. On July 12, officials announced they had reunited 57 out of 103 toddlers, saying the other children were “ineligible.”

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