Yesterday, the Trump Administration missed a crucial deadline. A federal court had a specific deadline for the government: return children five and under that have been separated at the border to their parents by July 10 or else. That deadline has come and gone and thousands of children (many under fiver years of age) remain in detention centers away from their parents.
While government agencies are scrambling to reunite families through unethical means (gathering and storing DNA of children without the consent of parents), one thing is clear: the government never intended to reunite these families ever. If they had, they would have had a better record system in place, but as of now, they have lost many of them.
The New York Times reported that “Records linking children to their parents have disappeared, and in some cases have been destroyed, according to two officials of the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members.”
After the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump Administration for breaking up families at the border on June 26, the court ruled that the government had to reunite children under five by July 10, and all other children by July 26. And yet still, the government has failed once again.
Yesterday, a San Diego federal court said the “Trump administration must adhere to reunification deadlines for children forcibly separated from their parents or face possible punishment” according to the ACLU.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “The court could not have been clearer that business as usual is not acceptable. The Trump administration must get these children and parents reunited.”
While the government has tried to get an extension on their deadline on Monday, saying it could take a couple of months to reunite them, the court said no.
Both the ACLU and the Justice Department return to court on July 13.
As some of the parents and children are forced to be released, government officials are making them wear an ankle monitor to make sure they show up for their court hearings. But according to reporter John Daniel Davidson, those monitors can easily be taken off. He says the main reason why these families do not show up for their asylum hearing is because they’re in the U.S. to work, and you can’t get asylum for that.