US gov't reunites over 1,800 migrant kids with parents by deadline
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Shy children were given a meal and a plane or bus ticket to locations around the U.S. as nonprofit groups tried to smooth the way for kids reunited with their parents following their separations at the U.S. Mexico border.
The Trump administration said Thursday that more than 1,800 children 5 years and older had been reunited with parents or sponsors hours before the deadline. That included 1,442 children who were returned to parents who were in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, and another 378 who were released under a variety of other circumstances.
But about 700 more remain separated, including 431 whose parents were deported, officials say. Those reunions take more time, effort and paperwork as authorities fly children back to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
On Friday morning, Homeland Security officials said they had reunified all eligible parents with children — but noted many others were not eligible because they have been released from immigration custody, are in their home countries or chose not to be reunited.
Updated figures were not made public, but new data was expected to be released Friday at a court hearing in San Diego held by the judge overseeing the reunification process.