July 26 is the deadline for the government to reunite thousands of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border. Imagine for a moment the nightmare of hearing your child wailing, but not being able to do anything to help them, of not knowing where your child is, or if you will ever be reunited. This nightmare is a reality for thousands of parents. That’s because the United States government is currently engaged in a “zero-tolerance policy” that prosecutes migrants crossing into the country at the border as criminals. And as we’ve seen in headlines, that has entailed separating children from their parents.
The government was ordered by a federal judge to have reunified all of the families by July 26 — but as of July 23, only 1,012 children between the ages of 5 and 17 out of 2,551 had been reunited with their parents, Vox reported. Worse still, 463 migrant parents have been deported without their children, and as of July 26, the government has no defined plan to reunite their children who remain in detention on American soil.
The government anticipates that it will have reunited all 1,637 families deemed “eligible” for reunification by the deadline Southern District of California Judge Dana Sabraw imposed for reunification.
Despite the headlines about children being reunited with their parents, make no mistake: Far more families are still separated then have been reunited.
First, some background on how the policy even came to be. On April 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a so-called “zero-tolerance policy” at the border between the U.S. and Mexico, instructing Border Patrol and Justice Department officials to criminally prosecute every immigrant who crosses the southwest border without documentation, even those seeking asylum. He also declared that escaping from domestic and gang violence would no longer be grounds to legally apply for asylum in the U.S. — effectively breaking with our past asylum policies.
By Kristian Ramos for BUSTLE
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