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Congressman Darren Soto

Representing the 9th District of Florida

Deadline passes to reunite families separated at border

July 27, 2018
In The News

WASHINGTON -- One matter on President Donald Trump's agenda this week is reuniting families separated at the U.S./Mexico border.

  • About 1,400 children reunited with parents, but some reunions not complete
  • Thursday was deadline to reunite all remaining children
  • Government expected to update numbers Friday

The final deadline passed Thursday, but not every child is back with their parents. Hundreds of migrant children remain in limbo despite the court-ordered deadline.

This is largely because about 500 of their parents have likely been deported.

The government said at a court hearing this week that they can't confirm whether those parents have been deported. There are about 200 more parents released somewhere in the U.S., making them difficult to locate.

Officials say more than 1,400 children have been reunited. That is 1,400 out of a total of 2,500.

It was June 26 when a federal judge in California ordered a halt to most family separations and mandated a July 10 deadline to reunite children under 5 -- along with Thursday's deadline to reunite all remaining children.

Spectrum News spoke with Rep. Darren Soto, R-Fl, who recently met with Homeland Security Kristjen Nielson about the ongoing reunification effort in Florida.

"My original numbers when I went to Homestead were that we had 72 kids who were separated from their families from the separation of families policy," Soto said.

"However, there was another 1,200-plus who were there because of the zero tolerance policy. So, both these policies are swelling the ranks up to 1,300 children in a facility meant for 500. So obviously it's affecting our state as well."

The question becomes how to reunite the remaining children. For hundreds, they'll continue to be held in shelters while the government figures out its next move.

The government is expected to file another court document Friday with more updated numbers on the reunification efforts.

As for the families reunited, some could still be deported. The American Civil Liberties Union is arguing they should be allowed to remain in the country for a week to consult with lawyers.

Other families have pending asylum claim hearings.

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