Thursday, July 26, is the court-imposed deadline for the Trump administration to reunite all the families separated under Jeff Sessions’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. But according to a joint court filing by the federal government and the ACLU on Monday, 463 migrant parents, who were separated from their children when they crossed into the U.S. illegally, are no longer in the country.
This is not a new phenomenon. Immigrant children have been separated from their parents before, and it has consistently been a bureaucratic nightmare for non-profits and the Health and Human Services Department to reunite the families. However, with nearly 3,000 children separated as part of Trump’s push to curb illegal immigration, the chaos has been unprecedented. Administration officials, who spoke to The New York Times anonymously earlier this month, attributed the logistical nightmare to the use of different databases and computer systems, as well as a variety of staff who all handle the situation differently.
There has been progress with reunifications: Reuters reports that, as of Monday, 879 parents had been reunited with their children. But the cases of the 463 parents who have been deported without their children are still “under review.” This will make meeting Thursday’s deadline a challenge.