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Trump administration misses deadline to reunite migrant toddlers with parents

Published July 10, 2018 at 9:32 PM

The U.S. government has missed a crucial deadline in the saga to reunite migrant children with their parents. CGTN’s White House correspondent Jessica Stone has more.

Another court deadline missed – involving dozens of toddlers hoping to be reunited with their parents.

The U.S. Justice Department says 102 immigrant children have been identified for reunification by Tuesday, but fewer than half will be back with their families by the end of the day.

They were separated under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, when the U.S. government says they and their parents crossed the U.S. Mexico border illegally.

That includes seven toddlers in the care of Bethany Christian Services, which told CGTN that, “One hundred percent of children under the age of 5 who were separated during the “zero tolerance” policy…have been reunited with their parents or have travel arrangements for reunification.”

But the rest of the children are still waiting.

U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the family separation crisis before departing for Brussels. “We have laws, we have borders,” he said. “Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of the children, does not expect the Trump administration to face any consequences.

Lee Gelernt, an ACLU Attorney, said that, “I think we’re a long way from the court saying, ‘I’m going to sanction the government.’ I think now he feels like the government is working good-faith, finally working to get this reunification done. We’re hoping that’s right, and it moves forward.”

According to court documents, the Trump administration says 27 children can’t be reunited because the adults they came with aren’t their parents, or have criminal records. A dozen more parents were deported without their children. The court documents blame “…legitimate logistical impediments that render timely compliance impossible or excusable.”

Court documents also show the ACLU arguing that they “…have no independent verification that these numbers are accurate or that there are not additional children under five who should be on the government’s list.”

In many ways, this latest court-imposed deadline to reunite families is a dress rehearsal for the return of children older than five to their parents. A U.S. judge has ordered that thousands of children must be returned to their families by July 26.

Susan Church on the quest to reunite migrant toddlers with their families

For more on the latest efforts to reunite migrant children separated from their parents by the U.S. government, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Susan Church, an immigration lawyer at Demissie and Church.


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