Feds will miss deadline for reuniting families separated at border, advocates say

July 24, 2018

AUSTIN - Many families separated at the Texas border through the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy are highly unlikely to be reunited by a Thursday judicial deadline, civil rights advocates said Tuesday, fueling angst here as state lawmakers begin drafting border policies they hope to make law next year.

A court order requires the federal government to reunify families by July 26, although groups representing hundreds of parents and children who were ripped apart at the border say reunifications are slow. Many families are being moved to different detention centers and parents have yet to see them, the groups say.

“The view from the ground in South Texas remains extraordinarily chaotic,” said Mimi Marziani, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, at a press conference at the state Capitol.

Of more than 2,300 migrant children separated from their families at the U.S. and Mexico border between April and June, 382 received legal assistance from the Texas Civil Rights Project. Of those, 203 parents are no longer in custody with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Marziani. Another 73 families were reunited and released, 26 were reunited but remain in detention facilities, and 73 remain detained and separated, she said.

MORE: Immigrant families separated at border arrive with complex stories

Legislators from the Mexican American Legislative Caucus say the Texas government should play a bigger role overseeing detentions on the border.

The caucus released a 16-point plan for addressing family separations, including ensuring proper oversight over facilities to guard against child abuse. Lawmakers say they plan to use the recommendations as a roadmap for drafting new laws in the legislative session that begins in January.

Andrea Zelinski is a staff writer who covers politics. Read her latest stories here . Follow her on Twitter and Facebook . Send her tips at andrea.zelinski@chron.com.

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