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What Happens if the Government Misses Today’s Deadline to Reunite Unauthorized Immigrant Families?

by Countable | 7.26.18

What’s the story?

  • The Trump administration has until 6 p.m. ET on July 26 to reunite all the families it separated as part of its “zero-policy” immigration policy.

Separation by the numbers

  • 1,637 parents have been deemed eligible for reunification.
  • 1,012 parents have been successfully reunited with their children as of Tuesday.
  • 914 adults have been deemed “ineligible” for reunification, according to the Justice Department. This group includes parents who have been identified as having criminal convictions.
  • 663 unauthorized immigrant parents may have been deported while their children remain in U.S. custody.

What happens if the deadline is missed?

  • Besides fines, the judge could hold the government in contempt of court.
"It is within their right to fine or imprison government officials who do not comply with the order," Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst and immigration lawyer at Migration Policy Institute, told Newsweek
  • But legal experts say this is unlikely, especially if the government shows it has been making a “good faith effort” to reunite the children with their parents or caretakers.
  • According to Pierce, as reported by Newsweek, the likely outcome is that the government “will be forced to provide the court with detailed information on the exact moments of reunification made after the deadline has passed.” This is what happened when the administration missed the first court-ordered deadline of July 10 to reunite all the children aged 5 and under with their parents.

What do you think?

What should happen if the Trump administration fails to meet the court-ordered deadline to reunite families? Does Congress need to get involved? Should all of this have been considered before the separations? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: @awakeICE via Twitter)


Written by Countable

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