With one week left to reunite thousands of migrant kids, officials have 'few answers for Congress'
There’s exactly one week left until Judge Dana Sabraw’s deadline ordering the federal government to reunite thousands of migrant children kidnapped from the arms of parents at the border, and administration officials, the Los Angeles Times reports, continue to be as vague as ever—but that’s what happens when you separate families with no plan on how to voluntarily get them back together.
During a closed hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, officials “had few answers for Congress … on what is next for the families,” including “how many migrant families will be detained—or released—once they are united.” According to the LA Times, with a week to go, “federal officials have said Immigration and Customs Enforcement has cleared a little over 900 parents, of the approximately 2,500 separated families, to reunify with their children.”
”According to a plan detailed in Sabraw’s court and a flow chart provided to the House committee,”—a “convoluted” flowchart, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted—“adults in immigration custody are being transferred to one of up to eight facilities … children are then transferred to the same facility within 48 hours, and the family is shifted to immigration custody, assuming space is available. If no problems are found, immigration agents will work with a private contractor to move the reunited families to a ‘pre-identified release location.’”
But according to Durbin, “we were told the government has identified at least 180 parents who have been deported without being united with their children. The administration said some of the 180 agreed to be deported but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) say how many.” Of course, no one risks an arduous journey north with their families only to agree of their own free will to deportation once they make it to the U.S. There’s been plenty of reports that migrants have been coerced, under threats of losing their kids forever. Some families, Durbin said, are already agreeing to be being jailed together.
Following "persistent and increasing rumors,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification,” Sabraw also ordered a temporary halt to the deportation of reunited families. But some children under age five, also ordered reunited by Sabraw earlier this month, weren’t returned to their parents because they’d already been deported. Who knows how many, in another week’s time, will also be without their parents due to this crisis created by Donald Trump.