As of Tuesday morning, four children had been reunited with their parents, and as many as 51 others could be reunited by day's end, according to the joint filing submitted by the government and the ACLU to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Yet in a disturbing investigation published Monday, BuzzFeed News has found that to not be the case, detailing the stories of several women who say they were ignored, roughly handled, shackled around the belly, and denied urgent medical care - even as they were miscarrying their children. It noted that 20 of those parents were already deported, even though their children remain in US government custody.
More than 2000 children were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before US President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an worldwide outcry. In the month leading up to the executive order alone, some 2,300 children were separated from their parents and placed in "cage-like juvenile detention facilities". Under Sabraw's order last month, the rest of the minors will need to be returned to their families by July 26.
"It is disgraceful that the Trump administration had no plan to reunite children after tearing them away from their parents, and it is even more disgraceful that they are now trying to delay the court-ordered deadline for doing so", Cummings wrote on Twitter.
Trump seemed to express indifference earlier Tuesday when asked about his administration's inability to meet the court-imposed deadline. Once the children are handed over to their custody, ICE will release the families together. She was held in jail for a few days and then was moved to Otero County, N.M., until she arrived at Casa Vides, part of the https://annunciationhouse.org Annunciation House network in El Paso, on June 24.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley said the administration has made good-faith efforts to address the issue and disagreed with the judge's ruling.
Some attorneys and advocates prepared for Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) reunions with little information.
Meekins said at least 14 children will not be reunited with those claiming to be parents, eight of whom failed criminal background checks, five of whom were determined not to be parents and one of whom is the subject of a claim of child abuse deemed to be credible. Unaccompanied children, some as young as 1 year old, have been kept in large chain link cages, and in some cases, forced to represent themselves in court. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.
Six of the 102 children are not eligible for reunification because they have a parent with a criminal history or were separated from someone who is not their parent.
"The goal of the [Trafficking Victims Protection Act ] is to promote the best interests of the child and to reunite families", the ACLU had argued.
The judge additionally asked for an update from the government on the reunification process by Thursday, Bloomberg reported.
Other areas of disagreement include whether fingerprint checks should be run on other adult members of the household and parent participation a legal orientation program should be required before release.