Federal Judge Gives Immigration Officials A Deadline For Family Reunification

He ruled that the government has 30 days to put these families back together.

By Leah Scarpelli and Jill AmentJune 27, 2018 7:10 am|

The Trump administration says it has suspended prosecutions of parents with children under the zero tolerance program, but about 2,000 kids remain in shelters without their parents.

As Mose Buchele of KUT Austin reports, that leaves hundreds of parents in desperate situations. Now a federal judge in San Diego has given immigration officials a deadline for reunifying families.

“The question was how are these families that are detained and separated going to be reunited,” Buchele says, “and this judge has now said that the government has 30 days to put these families back together.”

Buchele says it’s unclear whether the government will appeal the decision.

“Because the government said it can’t put them back together while the parents are in detention. And the judge has said that the parents can’t be deported before they’re reunited,” he says. “So the only avenue then would be to release the parents and children and allow them to reunite in the U.S. but outside of detention.”

The government says capacity is an issue, which is why military bases could be enlisted to house immigrants.

“It’s still so chaotic and changing so rapidly,” Buchele says. “We’re seeing more and more lawyers rush in to the Rio Grande Valley area where I was reporting from. The ACLU is down there now. They’re starting to organize with more local groups. Obviously we’re seeing lawsuits. We’re also starting to see civil suits – lawyers who have contacted individuals whose rights may have been denied. And they’re filing. So we can only imagine there’s going to be a lot more action along those lines, too.”

Written by Jen Rice.