President Trump was court ordered to reunify families by July 26, 2018 (see Brief #47,) While the government claims the deadline was met, more than 700 children (yes, every 1 in 3 children) still held in government custody were not reunited by 6 pm on the day of the deadline. The government has not offered a timeline for tracking down the hundreds of parents who still remain unaccounted for.
Parents of about 430 children were deported – despite the court ruling against deportation of separated families, in June 2018 – and thus those children were deemed ineligible for reunification. The remaining children of the 700 were also deemed ineligible due to red flags for a wide array of reasons that prevented reunification. In some cases parents were labelled “released” even though they were still in custody which made for an even more chaotic affair.
For those 1,820 children 5 and over that were reunited with their families, some parents waited up to a week for their children and were not allowed access to showers, phones or religious services during that time. One young migrant mother was greeted by her son who had a cough and a black eye; and some children were sent to the wrong facilities. What should have been a systematic and clear-cut system was in practice chaos.
Amateur fund-raisers have played a large role in helping to reunite families, providing food and travel essentials; as have larger groups, such as Fwd.us backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that raised millions of dollars for immigration court bonds and plane tickets. The ACLU filed a motion July 25 to protect the parents whom the government has claimed waived their rights to immediately recover their children. Many signed things they did not understand because they were not translated and signed documents under duress. Additionally, faith based organizations and other groups provided meals, clothing, legal advice, plane and bus tickets to families at ICE locations (even new shoe laces because those were taken away – like prisoners).
This approach to reuniting families based on who is eligible and who is ineligible seems to be a form of organized disarray. The emphasis appears to be on counting children rather than parents, even though 1 parent can have more than 1 child. This seems like a backwards way to approach the issue and come to a mutually beneficial solution. There are a number of various steps that could have been taken – perhaps more accurately keeping written record of parents and their child/children.
Additionally, the Trump administration did in fact deport some parents without their children (reference above), which went against the court ruling that families who were separated could not be deported and could not be deported immediaitly upon reunification. This may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things due to statistics and the general public’s focus on making sure every child has a parent, but it is a bold move on the Trump administration’s part that defied court orders
- The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights.
- FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.
- Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.
- Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.
This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Kathryn Baron: Contact Kathryn@usresistnews.org
Photo by Matheus Ferrero