According to numbers released last Friday, of the 2551 children and youth ages five through 17 originally counted as eligible for reunification, 1442 children have been reunified with parents while 378 were placed with guardians or sponsors. But that leaves an additional 700 children still in government shelters.

The 700 children remaining in government shelters were deemed as ineligible for reunification with the Federal Government claiming that there is a criminal issue with the parent or they are still under review. Most controversial, 431 have not been reunified because their parents have already been deported.

Judge Dana Sabraw has both praised the government reunification action and criticized it. He said that “The government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process and that’s where we go next.” He went on to criticize the lack of communication between agencies and departments saying that they were in “stovepipes” and, “What was lost in the process was the family.”

The ACLU continues to pursue the cases. They are now demanding to know how the parental deportation was handled and whether they were allowed to reunite with their children or were coerced. They have also asked that for the families reunified there be a seven day stay before they are deported so that they can consider their options. Judge Sabraw has not ruled on that yet. He did say Friday that the court would turn to the nearly 700 children not reunified.

On June 26, Judge Dana M. Sabraw, United States District Court for Southern California directed HHS and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Control to reunite the more than 2500 children separated children with those under five reunified first.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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