Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Immigration and Early Childhood Experts Call on the Administration to Reunify Every Child with Their Parents ASAP
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Immigration and Early Childhood Experts Call on the Administration to Reunify Every Child with Their Parents ASAP

Washington, D.C. — After failing to meet first court-mandated deadline to reunite the youngest children with their parents, the Trump administration is expected to blow past today’s deadline to reunify all families that it forcibly separated at the border. According to the government’s own court filing, the Trump administration is unilaterally deciding that more than 900 parents aren’t eligible to be reunified with their children—including over 430 who have already been deported. In response, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

Today, the administration should have reunited all of the more than 2,500 children—some as young as infants—with their parents. Let’s be clear: These families should not have been separated in the first place, and it is intolerable that, by the end of today, hundreds of children will still be kept from their parents. The Trump administration must reunify every child with their parents immediately. No excuses.

The administration will claim that they have met their obligations in reuniting families, but saying so belies the fact that the very same people that separated children from their parents in the first place are now passing judgement on which families deserve to be reunited. Unless there is a clear danger to a child—as determined by an independent child welfare expert—none should be kept from their parents. And given that 463 parents were deported from the U.S. without their children—with the vast majority not being given any choice in the matter—the administration must work around the clock to find these parents and bring them back to the U.S. We can never fully undo the trauma inflicted upon these children and their families, but as a nation, the least we can do is ensure that they are reunited and given a meaningful opportunity to seek protection here.

Katie Hamm, vice president for Early Childhood Policy at the Center for American Progress, added:

The Trump administration’s actions have inflicted immeasurable trauma on young children during a critically important time when strong parent-child relationship are key to healthy development. The Trump administration’s policy of separating children in the first place and then failing to reunite families is unconscionable. That’s why my two-year-old son and I joined over 100 fellow parents and children today for the I Am A Child march to call on Congress to hold the administration accountable to reunify every single child that was separated due to its policies.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Rafael J. Medina at rjmedina@americanprogress.org or 202.478.5313.