Less than a week out from the Trump administration’s court-ordered deadline to reunify all families separated at the border, more than 2,000 migrant children are still being detained and kept away from their families. Even more disturbing, government officials are now saying that potentially hundreds of the remaining families may not be reunified at all.
The latest numbers were included in a court filing submitted Thursday night as part of the ACLU’s ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. government. As CNN reports, 91 parents have been deemed ineligible for reunification due to their criminal backgrounds (a claim that we should be suspicious of, given that officials have been attempting to use even low-level offenses as a reason to keep families separated), 136 “waived reunification,” and almost 700 may not be eligible because they require “further evaluation.”
Hundreds more of the families who may be reunified still face an uncertain future. Of the more than 1,600 parents who qualify for reunification under the government’s criteria, 719 have final orders of deportation, raising worries they may be deported once they are reunited with their children. As NBCNews writes: “Those parents may have to choose between bringing their child back to a violent country or leaving them behind in the care of the government, nonprofits, foster families or relatives in order to seek asylum in the United States.”
Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen hedged on whether the administration will meet its July 26 deadline to reunify all families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “We will do our best, but we will not cut corners.” A curious assertion, given that it’s clear that the latter, along with acts of shocking cruelty and callousness, is what the Trump administration has been doing all along.