The government says it reunited 522 immigrant children separated from their parents under Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy — but thousands more remain

A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center after recently crossing the U.S., Mexico border with his father on June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.

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A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center after recently crossing the U.S., Mexico border with his father on June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
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Getty Images/Spencer Platt

  • The Deparment of Homeland Security said late Saturday it reunited 522 immigrant children who were separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
  • The reunions come just days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to halt the separations and instead detain immigrant families together.
  • An additional 2,053 children are Health and Human Services custody, which said it’s working to reunite the children with their families “via well-established reunification processes.”

The government has reunited 522 immigrant children who were recently separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, the Homeland Security department said late Saturday.

An additional 16 children will be reunited with their families within 24 hours, and were delayed due to “weather affecting travel,” the Customs and Border Protection agency said.

The reunions come after weeks of public backlash over the Trump administration’s practice of separating families, many of whom had crossed the border illegally and sought asylum in the US.

Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday halting the family separations and seeking to instead hold immigrant families in detention together, and said the next day that the families who were already separated would be reunited.

But chaos has gripped the reunification process, as lawyers and advocates have reported challenges in locating children, who in many cases were transferred into the custody of the Health and Human Services department and flown to shelters and foster families across the country.

Meanwhile, some parents remain in detention facilities or have been deported back to their home countries without their children.

HHS said Saturday that it’s holding 2,053 children in its facilities and is working with other government agencies to “foster communications” and reunite them with their families “via well-established reunification processes.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Saturday it had implemented an “identification mechanism” to track parents who are being detained or deported, and will coordinate with HHS to reunite parents with their children before deportation.