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By: Nick Miroff
The Trump administration said Tuesday it is on track to reunite the majority of separated migrant families ahead of a July 26 court deadline, but workers are still sorting through case files to determine whether hundreds of parents were deported without their children.
Government attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who mandated the reunifications last month and has overseen the process, that the government has given 1,012 parents their children back so far, out of 2,551 who were separated.
Hundreds more families are due to be reunited by the judge’s Thursday deadline, the attorneys said, which Sabraw praised as “a remarkable achievement.”
But the judge was less pleased with the government’s inability to say how many migrant parents have already been deported, or released from custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement into the interior of the United States.
Sabraw ordered the government to provide those lists to the court by noon Wednesday, and suggested the administration has not been transparent about the whereabouts of 463 parents whose files indicate they are no longer in the United States.
The San Diego judge, who was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush in 2003, said the lack of information reflected disorganization at the heart of the Trump administration’s family separation system, which Trump halted in a June 20 executive order.
“Some of this information is unpleasant, but it’s the reality of the case, and the reality of a policy that was put in place that resulted in large numbers of families being separated without forethought as to reunification and keeping track of people,” he said.
“It appears there’s a large number of parents who are unaccounted for or who may have been removed without their child, and that is a deeply troubling reality.”