A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border on June 12, 2018 near Mission, Texas.
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- The Trump administration may have separated a parent and child who were both US citizens, the government said in a court filing on Tuesday.
- The administration is reuniting some three dozen young immigrant children it separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, but missed Tuesday’s deadline to reunite the full 102 children under the age of 5.
- One of those children can’t be reunited because the parent’s location has been unknown for more than a year — and they may both be US citizens, Tuesday’s court filing said.
The Trump administration said in a court filing Tuesday that it was on track to reunite 38 young immigrant children who were forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border — though dozens more would need more time.
A federal judge had set Tuesday as the deadline for the government to reunite 102 children in its custody under the age of five, but the Trump administration provided a list of reasons that the remaining 64 children wouldn’t be reunited on time.
In one stunning example, the government listed one child who “cannot be reunified at this time because the parent’s location has been unknown for more than a year,” and “records show the parent and child might be US citizens.”
The court filing didn’t clarify the circumstances of that child’s separation or why it occurred so long ago. The majority of the family separations took place in recent months after the Trump administration implemented its “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute adults who cross the border illegally.
The Health and Human Services department told Business Insider in a statement that it wouldn’t comment on specific cases of young immigrants in its custody.
Here’s what’s happening with the remaining 101 children under the age of five:
- 4 children were reunified before Tuesday’s deadline
- 34 are expected to be reunited on Tuesday
- 16 more are expected to be reunited on Tuesday if DNA matching verifies the adults’ parentage
- 1 more is expected to be reunited on Tuesday after the parents’ criminal background check results are resolved
- 2 children can’t be reunited yet — one because a parent is being treated for a “communicable disease,” and one because a parent currently plans to live in a household where an adult has an outstanding warrant for sexually abusing a child
- 10 can’t be reunited yet because they’re in criminal custody by state, county, or federal authorities, though they may be reunified upon their release
- 14 children can’t be reunited at all because the adults either have serious criminal histories, were determined to not actually be the children’s parents, or face credible evidence of child abuse
- 12 children’s parents have already been deported and must arrange for their children to also be deported
- 8 children’s parents are living in the US and are eligible for reunification, but the government needs more time to screen for safety and “suitability”
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