U.S. Must Reunite All Separated Migrant Families Thursday, But Hundreds Expected to Remain Apart

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Ever Reyes Mejia, of Honduras, is reunited with his son at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Michigan on July 10, 2018. (Credit: Paul Sancya/AP via CNN)

Ever Reyes Mejia, of Honduras, is reunited with his son at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Michigan on July 10, 2018. (Credit: Paul Sancya / AP via CNN)

After months of outcry over splitting up migrant families at the border, the US government has until 6 p.m. ET today to reunite all eligible families that it separated.

But we already know as many as 914 parents won’t be reunited with their children by Thursday. In some cases, the parents can’t be found or have serious criminal records. In other cases, they’ve already been deported without their children. A small number still haven’t been linked to children, let alone tracked down.

Here’s a look at the numbers ahead of Thursday’s court-ordered deadline:


That’s the number of families the government has already reunited, officials said at a status hearing Tuesday. That’s over 100 families more than the tally the government had reported Monday evening.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw, who issued the Thursday deadline to reunite all eligible families, called the progress “remarkable.”

“The government has to be commended for its efforts in that regard,” Sabraw said Tuesday.

But the judge also said the effects of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy — which led to most of the separations — have been “deeply troubling.”

“It’s the reality of a policy that was in place that resulted in large numbers of families being separated without forethought as to reunification and keeping track of people,” Sabraw said, noting the number that would not be reunified on time. “And that’s the fallout we’re seeing.”


That’s how many parents the government believes are no longer in the United States. They were likely deported without their children.

“The records recorded reflect 463 with a code that suggests that they may have departed the United States,” Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said Tuesday. “What I understand we are doing is taking a closer look at those. … So it may be a removal, or it may be a voluntary departure that is unrelated to a separation, or it may be a prior code.”

Sabraw addressed the government’s uncertainty.

“There may be 463, there may be more, it’s not certain,” he said. “But it appears there’s a large number of parents who are unaccounted for or who may have been removed without their child.”


That’s how many parents won’t be reunified with their children because they either have criminal records or declined to be reunified, according to the government.


That’s how many parents have been released from federal custody. Some may be wearing ankle monitors as they await immigration hearing proceedings.


That’s how many parents’ cases require further investigation, the government said Tuesday. The number includes some parents whom the government can’t locate and those who authorities aren’t certain are the parents of separated children. The number may also include some children who were already released to a different family member or friend.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.