Summary of Where Families Stand: A Digest
As the court ordered deadline for family reunification has passed, the process of getting children and parents back together again has been met with mixed reviews and raised serious question about those who remain in custody and separated. Here is a collection of short blurbs from news articles which paint a complex picture of what is actually happening.
We offer these snippets to help broaden perspectives and keep this vital conversation going but we encourage you to read the articles in full to understand the situation fully.
do you have resources you'd like to share? contact us.
want to stay in touch? followus on twitter; like us on facebook.
*Please note - while it is impossible to quote and share all relevant news articles and sources, our goal is to offer a non-partisan view of the situation as we know it right now. This effort to raise awareness and keep this issue from falling out of focus is of critical importance.
As you may know, the initial ruling ordered children under 5 years old to be reunited with their parents within the initial 14 days of the mandate, after that the court ordered the US government to unite the rest of the families within 30 days.
After last Thursday's deadline, many families have been brought back together thanks to the coordinated efforts of the US Government, however, there are still a significant number of children who are separated from their families. One of the biggest concerns is that many parents will be deported without their children, leaving them to the foster care systems in the US without a clear picture of if and when they will ever see their families again.
Let's keep our eyes on what is happening and continue to hold our government to the promise and mandate of reuniting all families. It's the right thing to do.
Here are a few thoughts from the news world -
AN OVERVIEW OF REUNIFICATION AND FAMILIES STILL DIVIDED
FROM THE TEXAS TRIBUNE:
On June 26, a federal judge gave the Trump administration a month to reunite the more than 2,500 children separated from their parents at the border. On Thursday, when that deadline hit, the government had brought back together just about two-thirds of those families.
The other 700-plus of them, some with toddlers and some with teenagers, remain apart, with children scattered across the United States in government care and parents spread across the world. In some cases, parents were “ineligible” for reunification this week because of a prohibitive criminal background. In more cases, though, the continued separation is of the government’s own making: More than 400 parents were deported without their children, and nearly 100 more were released into the United States, their whereabouts now unknown. The location of about 100 children's parents remains “under review.” Parents to 120 children, the government says, waived reunification with their children, but lawyers for those families say many were confused or coerced.
Federal government officials announced Thursday evening that 1,442 reunifications have taken place in ICE custody among about 2,500 migrant children ages 5 to 17. Officials also said that 378 more children have been discharged “in other appropriate circumstances” — including reuniting with parents outside ICE custody, being released to other relatives or turning 18.
- Some reunited families have been released together into the country; more than 200 families remain locked up together at two immigration detention centers in Texas. Many of them will likely be deported together over the coming weeks.
- Pressed on how the government would reunify the remaining hundreds of families — the bulk of which are now been separated by the country’s border — federal officials demurred, repeating several times that they “don’t want to get ahead” of the federal court case that ordered the reunifications in the first place. A conference in that case is set for Friday afternoon, and road ahead will be laid out by a federal judge.
- The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully took the government to court to order the reunifications, has demanded more information on the reunions that have already taken place and further assurances about the fate of families that remain apart.
- The biggest uncertainty rests with the 431 children whose parents have been deported.
- “We don’t keep track of individuals once they’ve been deported to foreign countries,” said Matthew Albence, an executive associate director at ICE, on a call with reporters Thursday evening. “We’ll work with the court on how we can potentially facilitate reunifications with those individuals.”
- Albence added that all parents who were deported were asked whether they wanted to be reunified with their children and declined. Advocates have cast doubt on that claim, saying many parents were manipulated or even misled into making that decision.
- Even as the government emphasized that it had reunited all eligible parents by the court’s deadline, advocates criticized federal officials for leaving hundreds of other families divided.
Read the full article from THE TEXAS TRIBUNE by clicking here.
JUDGE SAYS IT'S THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO TRACK DOWN PARENTS NOT IN CUSTODY
FROM THE WASHINGTON TIMES:
The judge overseeing the chaos from President Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy gave the government good marks for its efforts to reunify families, saying that for the parents the government has control over “that process has been completed.”
But the judge, in a court hearing Friday, said there are still hundreds of other parents who weren’t in government custody who must now be tracked down. He didn’t blame the government for failing to reunify them, since they aren’t in government custody, but he did say they are the government’s responsibility.
“The government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process, and that’s where we go next is identifying and finding those parents who have been removed without children or who are in the interior and not presently located,” Judge Dana Sabraw said.
He praised the government for meeting his strict deadlines, set in June, that forced agencies to scramble to reunite young children with parents by July 10, and the rest of the juveniles by this week.
He said the government managed to reconnect 1,820 children.
“The government can only reunify families over which it has control. and it has control over the families, the parents and children, in its custody,” Judge Sabraw said.
Read the full WASHINGTON TIMES article by clicking here.
FAITH-BASED GROUPS STEP UP TO HELP IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
FROM FOX NEWS:
The immigrant parents arrived at Catholic Charities in white vans with their children, their paperwork and almost nothing else.
They needed food, clothing, a place to stay and a way to travel to family in the United States. Many were still shell-shocked from weeks in government detention. One father carried an infant who didn't recognize him after two months apart. A mother held the hand of her 5-year-old daughter, who refused for a time to talk on the phone because she blamed her for their separation.
Scenes such as this are unfolding throughout Texas and Arizona as the Trump administration works to meet a Thursday deadline to reunite immigrant parents and children. The government is releasing hundreds of families to faith-based groups and leaving the groups to care for them.
The Associated Press observed newly reunited families spending their first day together Monday at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, which took them in after they were released from custody. The families included children as young as babies and old as teenagers, as well as asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America and people who were shuttled around the country to various immigrant detention facilities.
Read the article by clicking here.
PARENTS WAITING TO BE REUNITED WITH THEIR KIDS, RECEIVE THEIR DEPORTATION ORDERS
FROM PUBLICATION, THE HILL:
While images of children taken from their families no longer fill the front pages of newspapers, very little has changed on the border and this problem has not gone away. President Trump’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy has separated families seeking asylum, stranded young children in federal custody without their parents, and left the federal government unable to comply with a court order to reunite babies and toddlers with their parents even weeks after being separated. The Trump administration has actually deported many of these children’s parents, leaving young children alone in the U.S., and has apparently lost track of some children’s parents entirely. If the administration believes this chaos they have created will deter immigration, they misunderstand the dire circumstances so many of these families are fleeing.
- Thankfully, for the time being, a federal court has roundly rejected the administration’s request to lock children up alone indefinitely. However, since the public outcry over headlines describing children alone in cages forced President Trump to reverse his policy, and give actions by the federal courts, he now wants to lock up children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely. This is just cruelty by a different name. As the administration tries to find a way to make this legal, it has started preparations to have profit-maximizing private prison corporations construct tens of thousands of new detention beds on military bases for parents and children alike.
- Many opposed locking up families under previous administrations and continue to do so now, instead supporting effective, less costly alternatives that protect the rights of children and have high rates of success. Unfortunately, the Trump administration put an end to one such program, likely to push the president’s anti-immigrant agenda instead. It is important to note that 86 percent of families that have been released attended all of their immigration hearings, despite the president’s constant rhetoric to the contrary.
- We learned last week that hundreds of parents waiting to be reunited with their children already have deportation orders. This puts parents, who have not seen their children for weeks or months, in the impossible position of having to either return with their children to the countries they fled or leave their children here in the United States for good.
Read more from the article by clicking here.
CHILDREN DEEMED "INELIGIBLE" FOR REUNIFICATION
One day after a court-ordered deadline to reunite separated migrant children, Trump administration lawyers told a judge that around 1,440 children have been reunited with their parents — and that around 1,000 of those families face immediate deportation orders.
In all, the government either reunified around 1,820 children with their parents or put them in the care of other family members or sponsors, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego on Friday.
Sabraw, who ordered the government in June to reunify migrant children separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, said that the government "deserves great credit" for its actions to reunify those more than 1,800 separated children.
But he also said that step two in the matter is turning to 650 children who were deemed "ineligible" to be reunited by the government, particularly what he called "missing parents" who have already been deported without their children — which is believed to be 431, according to court filings.
Read the article from NBC by clicking here.
MORE ABOUT INELIGIBLE CHILDREN
And THE NEW YORK TIMES asks: What does it mean to be ineligible to be reunited with your own child? Click here for more.
*If you have thoughts, articles, and ideas about what is happening at our US borders, please connect with us on social media by clicking one of the links below.