World

Trump administration: 1,820 children reunited after US-Mexico border split

Trump administration: 1,820 children reunited after US-Mexico border split

Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego called the separation of families in a Trump administration policy brought in on April 6 "brutal" and "offensive". Many have been concentrated in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where families have been funnelled into federal offices that were designated as "staging facilities", overwhelming local resources to the extent that some parents have had to wait days after arriving to rejoin their children. The policy was reversed in late June, and a federal judge in California ordered reunifications by July 26.

The government said that 463 parents of immigrants children are no longer in the United States - which presumably means that most or all of these parents have been deported.

"The government has to be commended for its efforts in that regard", Sabraw said Tuesday.

Lisa Frydman, vice-president of regional policies and initiatives for advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense (Kind), said: "Kids are really confused, had major trust violations, and some of them are angry at their parents because they think it was their fault". Another 378 were released "in other appropriate circumstances", including discharges to other sponsors or children who had turned 18 years old.

Also, remember, there's uncertainty about the "ineligible" youngest children - under age 5 - that remain separated from their parents past the July 10 deadline for reunification.

On Tuesday the ACLU filed a further motion to delay deportations of any parent for a week after being reunited with their children.

Advocates and attorneys said this week that they have spoken to parents who they believe were coerced into being deported without their children.

Advocates said they were struggling to find immigrant families to confirm they had been matched with their children.

What exactly constitutes a "prohibitive criminal record" for detained parents is a little murky.

Other parents who were illiterate or spoke only indigenous languages said they could not understand the forms they were signing.

Last week, the judge gave immigrant parents a one-week reprieve before the government attempts to deport them.

After first gathering at the White House, the kids and adults descended on Capitol Hill to demand lawmakers reverse Trump's edict and force family reunification.

Noting that asylum seekers at the border mostly hail from violence-torn El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, a United Nations press release added, Trump's policies "effect on children and their families is devastation reserved largely for indigenous and other non-white migrants". Those children were reunited with 879 parents who were still in immigration detention when the government was ordered to put the families back together. Another 538 parents have been cleared for reunions and are awaiting transportation, meaning that at least half of the separated families will likely be back together by Thursday's deadline.

ACLU is hoping the judge bans deportations of families slated for removal for seven days after they're reunified because, the group argued, parents must have "sufficient time to consult about what might be the most consequential decision of their lives".

Lawyers for the government also said the figure of 463 parents was "under review", and the final tally could be different.

However, he said the separations and the realities of the case remain "deeply troubling". More than half of those parents, about 430, had been deported without their children.

Jose Dolores Munoz, 36, from El Salvador, was reunited with his 7-year-old daughter last Friday, almost two months after they were separated, but he said his daughter cries when he leaves the house.