Migrant families still separated after deadline

Joe Raedle  Getty Images North America

Joe Raedle Getty Images North America

The families were divided as part of a zero-tolerance policy announced in April and reversed through an executive order that Donald Trump signed June 20.

She is helping manage what has become a weekly rotation of about two dozen attorneys and staff from her firm who have been volunteering at the border, helping to reunite 23 families.

Which numbers did the government provide?

USA officials said 45 children were ineligible for reunification. The kids remain in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Officials said they tried to reunite all families by the deadline, but there are 711 children ineligible, including 431 whose parents have been deported and 120 whose parents waived reunification. She added, "No one should be forced to make decisions about their deportation or potential indefinite separation from their children under these circumstances".

In a status conference before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, the government said 1,637 parents have been ruled "eligible" for reunification and that nearly all of these mothers and fathers are expected to be back with their children by Thursday.

In a statement to the PBS NewsHour, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said the number of eligible children now reunited is zero.

"We are on-track to reunite all eligible parents in ICE custody", Meekins said.

In numerous other cases, the feds admitted, the parents already were deported. "It would be hard to expect that number of agencies to seamlessly coordinate a family reunification effort". This is a number that worries immigration attorneys and advocates because these adults may have already been deported.

The teenager is one of more than 1,800 children recently reunified with a parent or other family member. Others also said the forms were hard to understand due to a language barrier or misinformation from immigration officials.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,012 parents reunified with their children in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

At the Lutheran center, Phillips said the parents and kids have opened up as they go through an assessment process with workers.

21 children whose parents had "red flags" from their background checks. Some were told their children couldn't attend court hearings and would be waiting afterward, while others, she said, were told their daughters must attend an orientation session.

He said his group represented 382 families, and only 110 were reunited with their children.

However, he said the separations and the realities of the case remain "deeply troubling".

"There's a lot of concern that those standards are being inconsistently applied, or parents are being arbitrarily denied access to their children", Sandweg pointed out.

Volunteers interviewed by the Globe described their efforts to navigate a maze of bureaucracy, and their difficulty in locating both parents and children, who in some cases were sent to facilities far from the border.

The government has said deported parents had the opportunity to take their children with them, but willingly left without them.

"The fundamental flaw of family detention is not just the risk posed by the conditions of confinement-it's the incarceration of innocent children itself", the doctors wrote.

But, by focusing only those deemed by the government to be "eligible" for reunification, authorities are expected to claim success.

Many reunited migrant families are taken to Central Station in McAllen. Information about these exclusions "was too general to be useful", ACLU said.

Officials declined to comment on what efforts, if any, would be made on behalf of children whose parents have been deported already, though they said some parents had voluntarily chosen to leave their children behind.

Sabraw addressed the government's uncertainty.

Officials said they did not have information on where deported parents were now located.

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