Migration to US: Why are 700 children still separated from their families

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The Trump administration said Thursday that more than 1,800 children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border have been reunited with parents and sponsors but hundreds remain apart, signaling a potentially arduous task ahead as it deals with the fallout of its “zero tolerance” policy on people entering the U.S. illegally.

The US federal administration has failed to reunite all families before the deadline set by San Diego, California federal judge Dana Sabraw. On June 26, he gave the government two weeks to reunite children under five, and one month for those aged 5 to 17.

Donald Trump said that he was only applying a law passed in an earlier era by Democrats. These separations sparked a national and international outcry, which forced the President of the United States to sign a decree on June 20 to end it.

For the last two weeks, children have been arriving steadily at ICE locations in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to be reunited with parents. Faith-based and other groups have provided meals, clothing, legal advice and plane and bus tickets.

The families are generally released, and parents are typically given ankle-monitoring bracelets and court dates to appear before an immigration judge.

Parents expelled without their children

For children under 5, the deadline of 10 July set by the judge had been missed by two days. That of July 26 is not completely respected either. In detail, according to figures published by the press, on 2,551 families with children over five:

• 1,442 children found their parents in US detention centers;
• 378 found them in complete freedom;
• more than 700 are still under federal control.

Federal administration explanation

• Reunification would not be possible for 431 children simply because their parents were expelled from the United States;
• 120 parents reportedly refused to be reunited;
• 67 parents would not be eligible for reunification because of criminal or criminal history, or because they have a contagious disease or because their affiliation has not been established;
• Finally, the parents of a hundred or so children would not have been located.

with AP

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