President Donald Trump on Wednesday stopped his administration’s widely condemned policy of separating children from their parents at the border, but one big question lingers: What happens to the nearly 2,500 children already in federal custody?
No one seems to really know.
According to the HHS, there are no plans to reunite families in the near future, and children already being detained will remain there while their parents’ cases go through the legal system. The HHS said existing policies apply to those children, meaning that it’s up to the parents to find their children, which, if the parents are in custody as well, may be impossible.
“There is no system whatsoever to track these family separations, no efforts systematically to reunite these families,” Anthony Enriquez of Catholic Charities told the New York Times on Wednesday. “There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, ‘child here, parent there,’ so they can come back together.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy,D-Vt.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont called for detained families to be reunited and said Trump’s executive order does not go far enough. “We must be clear that mass incarceration of families is not the answer — alternatives exist that have proven to be effective, less costly, and more humane,” he said.
His were echoed by Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. “We are troubled that amid all the fanfare of Donald Trump’s televised signing ceremony there was not a single mention of how the more than 2,000 children will be reunited with their families,” they said in a joint statement Wednesday. “Children are currently being held in facilities that are often at opposite ends of the country from their parents, and there appears to be no system for reuniting these families.”
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