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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite migrant children under the age five with their parents separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by Tuesday, only about half of the 100 children have been reunited.
“It makes me really sad. I think we’re a country that cares about families and respect basic human rights,” said Mary McCabe, one of five attorneys with the immigration nonprofit HIAS.
McCabe visited with about a dozen migrant children who arrived to Pennsylvania in mid-May from the president’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. A dozen minors are staying in a refugee shelter in Bensalem.
“Those kids are incredibly frail. They don’t know what’s happening. They want to know where their parents are,” said Cathryn Miller-Wilson, executive director with HIAS.
Miller-Wilson says the children are originally from war-torn areas in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. So far, none of them have been reunited with their parents.
“A lot of them are so young, they might not know their parents’ full names,” McCabe said.
WHAT’S THE HOLDUP?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it uses background checks to reunite migrant families.
According to the Department, some parents were deemed unsuitable because of issues discovered like child cruelty, child smuggling, narcotics, robbery and murder crimes.
Some adults were also determined to not be the child’s parent.
Another problem? Some parents have been deported or are in detention centers.
Miller-Wilson says, “It’s been really challenging.”
The Trump administration’s next deadline to reunite the rest of the minors is set for July 26.