The Count on July 13, 2018: 2,942 Children

The court order for the United States to return 103 children under five years old to their parents by Tuesday, July 10, 2018 resulted in 58 children under five years old being reunited with their parents. The U.S. government said that 45 children were not united with their parents either because the parents had already been deported, were jailed,  had criminal records, or could not be found.

The ACLU has requested a record of the legal charges against the parents, but the U.S. government has refused to provide that information. The judge who issued the court order to reunite the children with their parents was dissatisfied with the efforts of the U.S. government and stated, “The parents are not applying for custody. They don’t have to prove they will be good sponsors. The government has to prove that they are unfit or a danger.”

There is no effective process in place to return children to parents whom the U.S. government has deported, no effective process in place to ascertain if criminal charges are politically motivated and irrelevant to the safety of a child, and no effective process in place to locate parents who have been released from U.S. government custody.

In Connecticut, lawyers, representing two children being held in a group home in Groton after being separated from their parents at the United States-Mexico border, will argue in front of a federal judge on Monday that the two children should be returned to their parents. The children, a nine year-old boy from Honduras and a fourteen year-old girl from El Salvador, came to the U.S. with their parents who are being held in detention centers in Texas. The boy came to the U.S. in June after traveling for two months on foot with his father from Honduras after the boy’s grandparents were executed with a machete and left for dead in the family’s backyard. The girl fled to the U.S. with her mother after the girl’s stepfather was murdered in a church while she and her mother waited for him inside the building.

The two lawsuits are being filed on behalf of the children by the Connecticut Legal Services and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Clinic at Yale Law School. These lawsuits, demanding the release of the children to their parents, are among only four being filed across the country and the only ones filed by children.

What will happen to the 2,942 children still being held by the U.S. government? If the U.S government could not reunite 45 children, 44% of the 103 children under five years old, how will it possibly reunite the 2,897 children between the ages of 5-18 who are being held? A federal court order states that the United States must reunite those 2,897 children by July 26, 2018.

We will see what happens.

Meanwhile, children are without their security, their homes, their parents, and without anything or anyone familiar to them. Some have been told that their parents are dead. All in our name. Shame on this administration. Shame on us if we are not outraged.

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