More than 460 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the southern border might have already been deported without their kids, the Trump Administration said in a court filing on Monday.
Of the 2,551 children ages 5 and older who were forcibly separated from their families under the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, 1,187 have been reunited or released to other guardians so far, according to the joint status report filed by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department on Monday. But hundreds of reunifications remain incomplete, days before a court-ordered deadline.
A judge had ordered the Trump Administration to reunite all children ages 5 and up by Thursday. Children under the age of 5 were order to be reunited by July 10 — a deadline the Administration missed by two days.
Monday’s court filing said that case notes for 463 adults indicate they are no longer in the United States, but the cases are still “under review.”
The ACLU, which is suing the Trump Administration to reunite immigrant families, had asked the government for a list of parents who were removed from the country and a list of parents who were released from the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Justice Department attorneys said they were “continuing to review their case notes and intend to provide updated data on these two categories of class members as soon as possible.”
Separately, 130 parents waived reunification during an interview with immigration officials — a decision some parents have made to leave children with family members in the U.S., often because they believe doing so might offer the child a better life.
“These parents urgently need consultations with lawyers, so that they do not mistakenly strand their children in the United States, and Plaintiffs’ partners are ready to provide these consultations immediately,” ACLU attorneys said in Monday’s filing.
In total, more than 1,600 adults were “possibly eligible for reunification,” and more than 900 adults were not eligible or undergoing further evaluation as of Monday.