A Project for Better Journalism chapter
opinion

Families remain separated

In June, District Judge Dana Sabraw gave the Trump administration a July 26 deadline to reunite families detained and separated at the border. Now, more than 80 days since the deadline has passed, families remain separated.

One reason that the Trump administration has failed to comply is the haphazard way in which records were and are being kept regarding detainees. This has led to chaos in the reunification process, with some reports of children being released to the wrong family or parents being deported without their children.

Another issue is the thousands of parents who, according to NPR, were coerced into unknowingly signing documents waiving their right to reunification. These documents were initially made available only in English, and many detainees reported being told that they had to sign.

Whatever the reason for this delay, this places the Trump administration in contempt of court. If the Trump administration doesn’t comply with the court order quickly by reuniting the separated families, than administration officials should be punished in the same way that others in contempt of court are punished — arrest and prosecution. According to Sarah Pierce with the Migration Policy Institute, this isn’t out of the question. But she says it’s more likely that the court will ask for regular updates on the reunification process. In the meantime, thousands of families are stuck in a sort of limbo, with it unclear when, if ever, they will be reunited.

If Trump is allowed to knowingly and blatantly violate court orders without repercussion, then the Judicial system will become meaningless.

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