US District Judge Dana Sabraw laid out a series of deadlines in a ruling last week. By Friday, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child. By July 10, children younger than 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.
…Exactly how many kids from separated families are in custody? The last time officials released an official tally on this was June 26. Thursday, Azar said the number was “under 3,000” but added that reviews were ongoing and he could not provide more precise figure. This is an important number because — since officials have declined to specify the total number of families that have been reunited — looking at the number of children in custody is one of the few ways for the public to have any sense of whether reunions are happening, and how quickly.
…Officials haven’t disclosed how many parents from separated families were deported. But in court on Friday, Fabian revealed details about one subset: 19 parents of children younger than 5 were deported, she said.
…Parents have also been offered the option to sign voluntary departure orders to speed up their cases even if they still have other legal options — and told they’ll be reunited with their children before they are deported if they do.
Immigrant advocacy groups say they’re concerned that some parents may have been coerced or may have signed documents they didn’t understand.