What’s going on with the migrant families still separated? And what’s next?

Posted: 12:33 PM, Jul 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-16 12:33:36-04

There’s been a flurry of recent activity in efforts to reunite migrant children removed from their parents.

But with the many legal and political wranglings, the latest developments can be difficult to follow. Here’s a quick look at what’s new and what’s next:

What just happened?

— The American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency motion Monday requesting a federal judge temporarily halt the deportation of parents until one week after they have been reunited with their children.

Why? Lawyers cite “the persistent and increasing rumors … that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification.”

Any deportation should allow parents time to confer with their children and make an informed decision, lawyers say.

— Many separated families are seeking asylum, but the odds of gaining US asylum just got lot tougher — and more deportations could ensue. Under a new Trump administration policy, asylum seekers claiming a fear of domestic violence or non-governmental gang violence in their home countries will likely be immediately rejected .

— After the Trump administration missed its court-ordered deadline for reuniting some children under 5, the Department of Justice said the government will probably handle future reunifications differently. For example, there will be a limited number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities where reunifications will occur — hopefully preventing a repeat of the confusion from last week .

— Some of the parents separated from their children have already been deported but still need to be located. And officials have said tracking them down will take time. Still, US District Judge Dana Sabraw said he thinks children and deported parents should be reunited within seven days of travel documents being obtained.

What’s going on today?

— Another federal court hearing is taking place Monday in San Diego. Judge Sabraw ordered the government to provide a list of all the parents in ICE custody eligible for reunification, the parents’ location and their children’s location by Monday.

— Participants at Monday’s hearing could also discuss the newly filed ACLU motion to delay any deportations involving separated families until one week after they’ve been reunited.

— Other expected topics include what to do about parents who have already been released from federal custody, have been deported or are in criminal custody.

What should we expect next?

By this Thursday, Judge Sabraw said, the government should be done figuring out which adults in ICE detention are verified parents of separated children.

Thursday is also the deadline for the government to provide a list of parents in ICE detention who are not eligible for reunification — for example, those with criminal records or those who are not certain to be a child’s parent.

And July 26 is the court-ordered deadline for the government to reunite separated kids ages 5 to 17 with their families. That means reuniting as many as 2,551 kids in less than two weeks.