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Who gives voice to separated immigrant infants?

If you are unsure of what's going on with the reunion of immigrant children separated from their parents, you are not alone. Despite a court's order to reunite thousands of families by July 26, government officials offer only vague ideas of how they intend to comply.

Even as those reunion expectations hang in the balance, civil rights advocates in Texas say children are still being taken away from parents who are suspected of entering the country illegally. Additionally, reports continue to surface of the government summoning youngsters to court in response to efforts to deport them.

According to the Justice Department's own data, as compiled by Kaiser Health News, at least 70 infants, children too young to speak, have been called to face deportation proceedings since Oct. 1 of last year. They are just a few of some 1,500 youngsters who are three years old or less that the government describes as "unaccompanied" – a condition that advocates note resulted because of the separation policy.

A check of current conditions

Acknowledging that the situation is fluid, here is how things stand at the time this is being written.

  • Government is under deadline: The most important is that one of July 26.
  • Rumors of imminent mass deportations are flying: These have led the American Civil Liberties Union to file an emergency motion requesting deportations until a week after parents and children are reunited.
  • Less hope for asylum seeking immigrants. New policy says those seeking asylum from domestic or gang violence in their native countries will likely be rejected.

What could be coming?

Providing a reliable forecast of how this situation is likely to resolve is impossible. Matters are too fluid. The government is under court pressure to lay out clear plans for finding already-deported parents and reuniting them with children still held in U.S. detention centers. At the same time, the court wants the government to provide a list of all the parents in custody who may not be eligible for reunification under the provisions of the existing court order.

The separation policy initiated by the federal government has created unique problems for officials, but more so for the families affected. But there are also scores of undocumented immigrants facing deportation hearings stemming from crime charges in Texas. Regardless of the reason why, for protection of rights and/or keeping families intact, contact an experienced attorney for help.

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