As many as 463 parents that were separated from their children are believed to be “not in [the] U.S.” as of Monday, according to federal authorities. Per Mother Jones, this could mean that hundreds of parents have been deported despite efforts, and a federal order, to reunite families separated at the U.S-Mexico border.
Government lawyers filed a document on Monday stating the case notes of these parents, whose children were all over the age of five, indicate that they were no longer in the U.S. and can’t be eligible for reunification.
However, the filing doesn’t specify if the parents left voluntarily, if they were deported, and if they left with or without their kids, according to American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Stephen Kang. He’s part of the legal team representing migrant parents whose class-action lawsuit put a pause on the Trump administration’s separation policy.
The cases are also still under review, according to Mother Jones, which means the government isn’t positive these parents are no longer in the country. ICE hasn’t provided a list of deported parents that might help clear up the confusion. “It’s been very hard to get information,” Kang told MJ.
Only 879 of 2,551 children over the age of five have been reunited with their parents. 538 more parents are currently waiting on reunification after being cleared by ICE. The government is also claiming that 917 of these parents are “potentially ineligible for reunification,” because they either waived their right for reunification or they have a “prohibitive criminal record.”
Last month, San Diego-based federal Judge Dana Sabraw called the separation policy unconstitutional and order family reunification by July 26. The government has until Thursday to meet this deadline.