Trump Administration May Miss Deadline to Reunite Families

Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the U.S.-Mexico border, right, is embraced by volunteer Janey Pearl during a news conference Tuesday, July 3, 2108 in New York. Gonzalez saw her children for the first time since mid May. She was driven cross-country by a team of volunteers after she was released from Eloy Detention Center in Arizona on Thursday. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the U.S.-Mexico border, right, is embraced by volunteer Janey Pearl during a news conference Tuesday, July 3, 2108 in New York. Gonzalez saw her children for the first time since mid May. She was driven cross-country by a team of volunteers after she was released from Eloy Detention Center in Arizona on Thursday. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

On June 26, Judge Dana Sabraw set deadlines of Tuesday to reunite children under 5 with their families and July 26 for older children. Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote that the “situation has reached a crisis level” and that the “chaotic circumstances” were of the government’s own making.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday there were “under 3,000” children separated from their parents. Previously, he said 2,047.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parent,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. “These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain.”

The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who was separated from her son after an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border.