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Children and parents protested the Trump administration's separation of families on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

With More Than 700 Children Still Separated, Immigrant Rights Groups Decry Trump Officials' Claim That Reunification Deadline Was Met

"Not even close, and that's if you believe their number."

Julia Conley

Immigrant rights advocates are repudiating the praise that some in the corporate media have heaped on the Trump administration for reuniting some families, as hundreds of children remained apart from their parents on Friday—a day after the court-ordered deadline for reunifying every family torn apart by President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a federal lawsuit challenging the policy and the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, rejected headlines like the one used by the New York Times in its Thursday report: "Federal Authorities Say They Have Met Deadline to Reunite Migrant Families."

"The only deadline they are meeting is the one they have set for themselves," Lee Gelernt, lead counsel for the ACLU, told the Times. "The government should not be getting applause for cleaning up their own mess, but moreover, they're still not meeting the deadline for all the families."

More than 700 children were not reunited with their parents as of Thursday at 6:00pm, the official deadline given to the Trump administration by U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw in June. More than 430 of those children's parents have been deported, many to countries that families left in order to flee violence. If reuniting those families is possible, officials will need to send the children back to those countries as well.

The political action group People for Bernie also reminded observers that after lying about whether there was a family separation policy at all—and claiming that Democrats were to blame for more than 2,500 children being scattered across the country in detention facilities, with little to no contact with their parents—the administration's report that it has returned about 1,400 children is not necessarily to be be believed.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, was among the rights advocates who expressed outrage over the administration's failure to meet its obligations after separating the families.

Others on social media, including journalists, also urged news outlets to recognize the plights of the 711 children who are still without their parents due to the actions of the Trump administration —and not treat the border crisis as one that has remotely been resolved.


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