The federal government has until tomorrow to meet California U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s order to reunite all children separated from their families under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.
As of Monday, 879 parents have been reunited with their children, according to a joint court filing made by the federal government and the ACLU.
According to these filings, 463 parents are still under review, 538 have been cleared for reunification, and 454 may have already been deported without their children. The government states 917 parents are “ineligible for reunification” due to reasons like already being deported back to their home country, criminal records, communicable diseases amongst other reasons.
However, with all the confusion and secrecy behind the reunification from the federal government it is unwise to take their word on data they may be providing.
Their inability to meet Judge Sabraw’s first deadline for the reunification of children 5-years-old or younger shows uncertainty in the government’s motives with the reunification process.
We need documentation. We need proof.
That is exactly what the ACLU stated in regards to the new numbers given by the federal government.
“The government’s word alone on this determination is not sufficient,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“We’ve asked the court to order the government to provide details about the nature of the charge, conviction, or warrant for each parent whom the government excluded, so that we can verify that not reunifying the child is truly in their best interest.”
The fact that more than 450 parents may have already been deported means that there are more than 450 kids that are now left alone to fend and navigate the immigration system, by themselves.
After President Trump ended his zero-tolerance policy with his executive action, many parents looking for their children were given a government issued 1-800 number to try and find their children. Parents recall having to wait days for little or no information on the whereabouts of their children.
Now, imagine having to deal with an ill-ran government hotline from a rural area somewhere in Central or South America. The reality is that most of the parents having to deal with this migrated from rural areas with limited phone and internet access.
Even worse, in their desperation to find and reunite with their children, many of these parents may have been tricked into signing their own deportation or give up their right to asylum.
“They were being pressured by ICE to sign papers, that it would be the fastest way that they could see their children again, that if they choose to fight their case they would be kept in detention for many months longer, prolonging their separation from their children,” siad Royce Murray, policy director with the American Immigration Council told reporters during a conference call.
The ACLU stated on Monday that they need documentation listing the parents who signed form choosing to be deported without their kids.
“These parents urgently need consultations with lawyers, so that they do not mistakenly strand their children in the United States,” the ACLU wrote in the court filing.
The reality is that the federal government will not meet tomorrow’s deadline to reunite all the families they separated and will be looked as a failure until every single child that was torn apart from their parents stands in front of their loved ones again.