Some Migrant Children Reunited with Parents, Others Detained Indefinitely

Federal Judge Pressures Trump Administration to Verify Parentage & Reunify Families Immediately

On Tuesday, July 10, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to reunite migrant children under the age of 5 with their parents by the end of the day on Tuesday, or as soon as possible afterward.

At the time Judge Sabraw urged the Trump Administration to pursue prompt reunification for young children, the Justice Department issued a response stating that only 34 migrant parents had successfully passed criminal background checks and confirmed their relationships to their children through DNA testing. Others’ DNA tests were still pending at the time. However, Judge Sabraw firmly pressed the Trump Administration and emphasized that delayed action by the department would not be tolerated.

More Children Still Await Reunification

On Thursday July 12, 2018, the Trump Administration approved family reunifications for a small group of migrant children ages 5 and under. Out of the 103 young children who have been detained, 57 were candidates for reunification, while the rest were not eligible.

“Ineligibility” here refers to migrant parents’ failure to pass criminal background checks, failure to verify their parentage via DNA testing, or governmental agencies’ inability to reunify them for some other reason.

Reuniting Migrant Children with Parents After Deportation

But what about children whose parents have already been deported? Neither the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a clear-cut plan for reuniting such families.

Officials within the Trump administration have affirmed that deported parents have all been offered the chance to be united with their children but did not wish to do so. When asked whether the U.S. Government is taking measures to seek out deported parents, ICE Director Matthew Albence stated, “We don’t have the legal authority to bring [them] back in the country for reunification purposes…. They have no lawful right to be here.”

There have also been numerous recorded instances in which migrants claiming to be parents of detained children had no biological link at all. Though this has prevented several children from being placed with dangerous adults who were not their parents, it has ground the reunification process to a slow crawl for genuine parents seeking to be with their children. Officials claim they are working to speed up the process, but HHS officials have indicated a desire to accelerate reunifications, starting with children whose younger siblings have already been reconnected with their parents.

The Trump administration has until July 26 to comply with the court order and reunite migrant children with their parents.

Our Houston Immigration Attorneys Can Represent You During the Reunification Crisis

At Simon Law Group, PLLC, we can protect you and work to make sure your rights are protected. Even if you or someone you love does not have the rights of a U.S. citizen, they do have human rights that must not be trampled or ignored. Our Houston immigration lawyers are prepared to intervene and take up your case so that you can obtain a just, humane solution.

Our attorneys have first-hand experience with the U.S. immigration system and know how to help you get the result you want. We serve migrants seeking asylum, deportation defense, and visas of all kinds. Contact our offices immediately in order to get the skillful, compassionate legal representation you need during this time.

Call (713) 839-0639 to speak to a South Texas immigration attorney today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.