On Friday, in the latest sign of disarray in the administration, officials admitted in court that they may miss a judge’s Tuesday deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents.
…But hopes that the reunions would be swift were dashed in court on Friday and by other reports of a badly malfunctioning system that was overwhelmed when the President ordered a so-called zero tolerance policy that led to separations with no plan for dealing with the kids.
Some parents who have gone through immigration procedures have told CNN they don’t know how to get in touch with their kids — despite a court deadline that expired Friday for the administration to at least put parents in telephone touch with their offspring.
One Guatemalan woman called Lesvia, who got out of a detention center in Texas on Thursday, told CNN’s Miguel Marquez on Friday that she received no answers about the whereabouts of her 10-year-old son, who she last saw on May 19.
…The administration has yet to tell Americans exactly how many kids are still in custody, how long they will remain split from their parents and when this grim chapter of modern political history will end.
…Trump is also a master of distraction, and he has a polished record of creating new political storms to disguise scandals and dramas that could damage him politically.
He also got lucky. The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and a vacancy that could cement the court’s ideological balance for a generation have captured the political imagination of Washington for over a week.
Next week, Trump will leave for a foreign trip packed with high-profile photo-ops, which includes a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that is likely to further shove the separations issue into the background.
Yet all this time, several thousand kids are wondering when they will see their parents again.
…Doubts about the Trump administration’s capacity to reunite children and their parents are being exacerbated by its unwillingness or inability to publicly describe the scale of the problem or to explain how much progress it is making toward ending it.
On Thursday, Azar said that “under 3,000” children from separated families were in custody.
On Friday in a court filing, HHS said that number included “approximately” 101 kids under 5.
But there is no certainty over how many kids are still separated from their parents and how many families have been reunited — let alone the issue of how the government will deal with new families who cross the border and who won’t be separated but will still presumably be treated as criminals under the zero tolerance policy.