Migrant families: 463 migrant parents 'no longer in US'

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ACLU attorneys have been pushing the government for a list of these parents, and in Monday's court filing called for the administration to give them an updated list.

Parents with a final removal order have 48 hours to decide if they want to leave the United States as a family or let their children stay and seek asylum.

Michelle Brané, with the Women's Refugee Commission, which has been interviewing parents at the Dilley detention center outside of San Antonio, Texas, claimed that her team of attorneys has observed several reunifications gone awry, further traumatizing the kids involved.

The separations policy triggered outrage in the United States and overseas, especially after the release of audio of small children in shelters crying for their parents, many of whom fled turmoil and gang violence in Central America.

As the deadline neared, small groups of children were led in and out of Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix all day Thursday, sometimes holding hands with a worker from the center.

Dozens of immigrant parents were coerced or misled by US authorities on the Mexico border into signing forms agreeing to be deported quickly without their children, lawyers said in a court filing on Wednesday.

Government data indicates that the parent or parents of more than 430 children may already have been deported, some of them voluntarily - enormously complicating any possible reunion.

That number included 120 children whose parents declined to be reunited, 21 children whose parents had red flags in their background checks, 46 children who had a parent with a red flag for another reason, 79 children whose parents were released from government custody into the USA and could not be reunited, 431 children with parents who are no longer in the U.S., likely those who were deported.

A total of 463 parents have been deported, but the cases are under review and may not reflect the number sent back without their children, according to The Post.

The government and the ACLU will file another status report on Thursday and are scheduled to be back in court Friday in San Diego.

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For the last two weeks, children have been arriving steadily at ICE locations in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to be reunited with parents.

"I'm anxious here that we have 460 parents who have now been deported to Central America and there is a very high likelihood that those parents are not going to see their children again", said John Sandweg, a former acting director of Immigration Customs Enforcement.

"In some cases, they only translated the first half" of the sentence, she said referring to the phrase "I want to be reunified with my child". The number includes some parents whom the government can't locate and those who authorities aren't certain are the parents of separated children. It deemed 45 children ineligible for return because their parents were not fit or able to take them.

The rights group said the time was needed to advise parents of their rights and allow them time to consider their options. "We don't keep track of individuals once they've been deported to foreign countries, as Chris indicated".

The parents and children were separated as part of U.S. President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

The hours and days after reunification have come with their own challenges, which have largely been absorbed by aid groups tapped by the government to provide emergency shelter and food, as well as transport. The ACLU expressed "concerns about misinformation given to these parents about their rights to fight deportation without their children", given the near-impossibility of tracking down parents in Central America.

But the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, said earlier Thursday that they did not believe the deadline was met.

They should be fired and held in contempt of court for failing to meet the court-imposed deadline.

They have bus tickets, often paid for by family, relatives, or non- governmental organizations, to head to their next destinations, usually the homes of family members with whom they'll stay.

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