Why 900 families separated at border likely won’t be reunited by Thursday deadline

WASHINGTON — After months of outcry over splitting apart migrant families at the border, the U.S. government has just one more day to reunite all eligible families that it separated.

But we already know as many as 914 parents won’t be reunited with their children by Thursday. In some cases, the parents can’t be found or have serious criminal records. In other cases, they’ve already been deported without their children. A small number still haven’t been linked to children, let alone tracked down.

Here’s a look at the numbers ahead of Thursday’s court-ordered deadline:

1,012
That’s the number of families the government has already reunited, officials said at a status hearing Tuesday. That’s over 100 families more than the tally the government had reported Monday evening.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who issued the Thursday deadline to reunite all eligible families, called the progress “remarkable.”

“The government has to be commended for its efforts in that regard,” Sabraw said Tuesday.

But the judge also said the effects of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy — which led to most of the separations — have been “deeply troubling.”

“It’s the reality of a policy that was in place that resulted in large numbers of families being separated without forethought as to reunification and keeping track of people,” Sabraw said, noting the number that would not be reunified on time. “And that’s the fallout we’re seeing.”

463
That’s how many parents the government believes are no longer in the United States. They were likely deported without their children.

“The records recorded reflect 463 with a code that suggests that they may have departed the United States,” Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said Tuesday. “What I understand we are doing is taking a closer look at those. … So it may be a removal, or it may be a voluntary departure that is unrelated to a separation, or it may be a prior code.”

Sabraw addressed the government’s uncertainty.

“There may be 463, there may be more, it’s not certain,” he said. “But it appears there’s a large number of parents who are unaccounted for or who may have been removed without their child.”

191
That’s how many parents won’t be reunified with their children because they either have criminal records or declined to be reunified, according to the government.

217
That’s how many parents have been released from federal custody. Some may be wearing ankle monitors as they await immigration hearing proceedings.

260
That’s how many parents’ cases require further investigation, the government said Tuesday. The number includes some parents whom the government can’t locate and those who authorities aren’t certain are the parents of separated children. The number may also include some children who were already released to a different family member or friend.