While President Donald Trump and administration officials took to social media to celebrate the news that 12 Thai children and their soccer coach will be reunited with their families after being trapped in a cave for 18 days, the White House didn’t even come close to meeting Tuesday’s court-imposed deadline to reunite 102 children under the age of five with their parents after they were separated by Trump’s cruel policies.
Federal judge Dana Sabraw—who issued the ruling that set the Tuesday deadline—asked the ACLU to “submit a proposal for possible punishment” against the Trump administration for failing to meet the target date.
Rebuffing White House requests, Sabraw also declined to extend the deadlines for reunification, declaring that they are “firm deadlines” not “aspirational goals.”
Speaking to reporters just before his flight to Europe for the NATO summit, Trump blamed his administration’s failure to meet the court’s deadline on the detained families themselves, saying the “solution” to the crisis he created is “don’t come to our country illegally.”
According to court filings, the Trump administration had reunited just four families by Tuesday afternoon and is expected to reunite 34 more by the end of Tuesday.
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“The Trump administration’s failure to meet the court’s deadline to reunite families separated at the border shows the administration’s ongoing neglect and disregard for the wellbeing of immigrants,” Javier Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said in a statement. “We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the so-called ‘zero tolerance’ policy, and once and for all we must end family detention.”
Noting that the Trump administration manufactured this disastrous situation with its inhumane policies in the first place, the ACLU vowed to keep up the pressure until all families separated by the White House’s cruel policies are unified.
“The Trump administration was ordered to reunite more than 100 children with their parents by today,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal noted in a tweet on Tuesday. “They’ve missed the deadline and must be held accountable.”
In total, an estimated 3,000 children were separated from their parents as a result of Trump’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy. Sabraw gave the Trump White House until Tuesday to reunite all children under the age of five with their parents, and ordered that the rest of the children must be unified with their parents by July 26.
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