According to numbers released last Friday, of the 2551 children and youth ages five through 17 originally counted as eligible for reunification, 450 have been reunited. Another 954 had been interviewed and are ready for reunification. According to the same information provided by HHS to Judge Dana Sabraw, 136 parents have waived their right to reunification. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is heading up the legal defense, is seeking information to find out if the 136 parents have already removed. In such a case the parents may feel pressure not to reunify with their children.
Judge Sabraw has held a series of hearing to monitor HHS as they work toward their July 26 deadline to reunify all children and youth that can be reunified. Earlier in the week he had called into question the HHS efforts but by Friday he indicated that HHS has shown great progress in the last several days. There have been some reports of HHS being in an all hands-on deck mode with even HHS Secretary Alex Azar involved in some of the work taking place at the HHS building in Washington.
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 2000 children separated children with those under five reunified first. The remainder are to be reunified by July 26 of this month, one month after the Judge’s order.
As far as the 2551 children, Judge Dana Sabraw original order said the government “must immediately take all steps necessary to facilitate regular communication between Class members and their children who remain in ORR custody, ORR foster care, or DHS custody. Within ten (10) days, [the government] must provide parents telephonic contact with their children if the parent is not already in contact with his or her child.”
Congress has come to an outright standstill on any action on the issue aside from the restrictions they are attempting to add through appropriations. Those action likely won’t see any resolution until the September session of Congress and by that time there could be some additional court action forcing Congress.
Still pending is a court action filed by 17 states on the President’s zero tolerance policies. That suit was filed by the District of Columbia and seventeen states: Washington, California, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, North Carolina, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia that seeks to bar the Trump Administration from separating children from their parents.