Lawyers And Lawmakers Describe Chaos, Trauma On Family Reunification Deadline

Guatemalan migrant Maria del Carmen Tambriz in tears after being returned from the US without her daughter

Guatemalan migrant Maria del Carmen Tambriz in tears after being returned from the US without her daughter Credit Luis Echeverria Reuters

Another 378 of those children have been "discharged in other appropriate circumstances", including to a sponsor or to their parents in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody.

Sabraw has issued the Trump administration a 30-day deadline - expiring Thursday - to quickly reunite as many separated families as possible, and last week he asked the government to clarify how numerous more than 2,500 parents eligible for reunions are no longer in the country. In 431 of these cases, the families could not be reunited because the parents were no longer in the United States.

Last month Judge Sabraw ordered the government to return children under the age of five to their parents by July 10 and those between five and 17 by July 26.

The lawyers have agreed to represent the families until their immigration proceedings are complete.

The teenager is one of more than 1,800 children recently reunified with a parent or other family member.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,012 parents reunified with their children in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

ACLU is hoping the judge bans deportations of families slated for removal for seven days after they're reunified because, the group argued, parents must have "sufficient time to consult about what might be the most consequential decision of their lives".

"These are troubling cases", ACLU said in the filing, requesting that the government explain its efforts to the court on how it plans make contact with these parents.

Immigration advocates have long contended that, due to language barriers and a lack of resources at the border, detained parents are being given faulty legal advice and, in some cases, being coerced into signing their own voluntary deportation forms in a mistaken belief that it will help them be reunited with their children more swiftly.

A woman who crossed in May as part of the Central American "caravan" told HuffPost she was reunited with her 5-year-old child but that her husband was still in custody.

Lutheran Social Services workers link arms to obscure children arriving with adults in Phoenix to be reunited
Lutheran Social Services workers link arms to obscure children arriving with adults in Phoenix to be reunited Credit Matt York AP

Lisa Frydman, vice-president of regional policies and initiatives for advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense (Kind), said: "Kids are really confused, had major trust violations, and some of them are angry at their parents because they think it was their fault". "It was a lie".

"This information is critical both to ensure that these reunifications have, in fact, taken place and to enable class counsel to arrange for legal and other services for the reunited families, ' it said".

Another 79 had parents who had been "released to the interior" and seven remain in NY because they are plaintiffs as part of a court order in ongoing litigation.

Maria Odom, vice president of legal services for Kids in Need of Defense, said two children the group represented were sent from NY to Texas to be reunited with their mother. "If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them", Sessions said.

"I am so happy because I have her close", Geronimo said through a translator. Some children have been sent to the wrong facilities, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the reunification efforts.

As the deadline neared, dozens of families with children gathered for a sit-in on Capitol Hill, while Democratic lawmakers blasted President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy as un-American.

Another 711 children remain in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement after it was determined their parents are either not eligible for reunification or are unavailable.

The government said in the filing that it would provide an updated list Tuesday.

The government and the ACLU will file another status report on Thursday and are scheduled to be back in court Friday in San Diego.

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