A Federal judge overseeing the process of re-uiniting families separated by the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy says that the process, as far as the Border Patrol is concerned, “has been completed” and that the government has reunited 1,820 juveniles with their families.
The Washington Times reports that despite consternation and a handful of lawsuits filed to expedite the process, the judge “praised the government” for meeting “strict deadlines” for reunification.
Not every waiting or separated child has found their way back to their family, however.
Several hundred parents are, according to the federal government, “lost”; parents who were not kept in federal custody awaiting an asylum hearing now need to be tracked down. The judge overseeing the process did not blame the Border Patrol for failing to reunite those families by the deadline but did reiterate, according to the Washington Times, that the government must make every effort to find parents who have not come forward willingly.
“The government can only reunify families over which it has control. and it has control over the families, the parents and children, in its custody,” the judge said.
Around 100 children will remain in U.S. custody, per parents who are now facing deportation but want their children to navigate the asylum process. These “voluntary separations” will be adjudicated in the weeks ahead. Until then, those children will remain in federal custody.
Reunification may be bittersweet for some immigrant families who attempted to claim asylum. Around 1,000 of the 1,800 or so families affected will eventually be deported, albeit together.