The U.S. government has given many reasons why it can’t reunite immigrant families it separated: illness, criminal history, and child endangerment, but yesterday it added a new one: we lost the parents.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency admitted in a court filing that it has lost track of the parent of a child in its custody, both of whom “might be” Americans.
In the filing, ICE was explaining to the judge why it was missing the July 10th deadline to return to their families 102 immigrant children under the age of five. Some of the families have complicating factors, ranging from communicable disease to criminal histories to other risks of endangering their children. Others, however, are eligible for reunification.
According to the plaintiffs, which are a group of affected parents represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ICE has “not explained what steps” it has taken to find the missing parent of the likely American child.
The judge also ordered ICE to post a notice in its detention facilities that tells asylum-seekers that they do not need to agree to deportation in exchange for reunification. That order followed reports that immigration officials were telling asylum-seekers that they had to leave, with or without their children, as NBC reported.