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Federal Government Won't Meet First Deadline To Reunify Migrant Families

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune
About 25 immigrant mothers and their children caught coming across the Texas-Mexico border are released at the McAllen bus station wearing ankle monitors, on June 22, 2018.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border continues to raise questions about the fate of families currently being detained.

Although the president signed an executive order to end family separation as a response to sharp criticism last month, this change has yet to draw expansive results.

A U.S. District Court-ordered deadline to return children under the age of 5 to their parents by July 10 won't be met and will require an extension, as the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services coordinate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to track down detained individuals.  

Out of the 102 "tender age" children expected to be processed by the court's order, less than 60 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday. 

The original order gave the federal government until July 10 to return children under the age of 5 to their parents and until July 26 to reunite more than 2,000 older children. 

What is the federal government's reunification plan? What's hindering the process?

Is public criticism enough to spur change on this issue? What are the legal avenues ahead for the federal government and the families involved? 


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.