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immigration

Gregory Bull / 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 U.S. has freed journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto from a holding facility in El Paso, Texas, hours before a federal judge's deadline for the government to produce documents to explain why it detained the Mexican asylum-seeker for nearly eight months.

It was the second time border officials have detained Gutierrez, who's been living in the U.S. for the past 10 years as he seeks asylum.

Reynaldo Leal / The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of kids are still separated from their migrant parents, despite Thursday's deadline for the Trump administration to reunite families.

Investigative reporter Neena Satija has been following one of those families — Marcos, Sandy and their four children — for the Texas Tribune and Reveal. Satija talked with KERA about what she learned while reporting the story. 

Texas Tribune

A young Guatemalan slept on a bridge for at least three days and nights while attempting to seek asylum. His wife and children had been separated after crossing that bridge just weeks earlier. This is the story of a family that faced seemingly every possible hurdle under Trump's immigration crackdown.

Eric Gay / AP

As the government faces a deadline to reunite hundreds of families, it is shifting the responsibility of their well-being to faith-based groups primarily in Texas and Arizona.

More than 450 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the border are no longer in the United States — but the government can’t be sure how many of them were deported and how many may have “voluntarily” left because of confusion over how those individuals were “coded,” Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, said Tuesday at a court conference in San Diego.

Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune

More than three dozen environmental, faith-based and immigrant rights groups are urging the federal government to extend the public-comment period for construction of the border wall, arguing that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security isn’t acting in good faith.

Rotten sandwich meat that’s turned green or black; noodle soup cooked so little that the noodles are still hard; drinking water that smells like chlorine, Clorox or “just bad.” Cramped, cold conditions; tearful separations of children and mothers; guards who said Mexicans won’t ever receive asylum in the United States.

Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press

An immigrant father from Guatemala dotes over his despondent teenage daughter during a weekly 10-minute phone call, while other parents wait weeks for the phone to ring.

A mother in Louisiana has phone video chats with her detained 5-year-old son in Texas, while a Honduran asylum-seeker had actual face time with his little girl, visiting her in person. He made sure to bring along a McDonald's hamburger to share.

5 Facts To Know About Migrant Family Reunification

Jul 20, 2018

A federal court in San Diego has given the government until July 26 to reunite thousands of children with their parents. It has been a chaotic, much disputed process, but a process that is undeniably underway. Here are five questions about family reunification answered:

1. When did family separations start?

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Migrants detained in recent months at the U.S.-Mexico border describe being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities that are unsanitary and overcrowded, receiving largely inedible food and being forced to drink foul-smelling drinking water.

Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California and viewed by NPR late Tuesday contain interviews with some 200 individuals detained under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, many of whom related poor conditions at the centers.

From Texas Standard:

A legal services nonprofit based in San Antonio has gained a national profile – fast and in a big way: Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. For many who are frustrated with the immigration policies of the Trump administration – especially family separation – donating to RAICES became a way to do something. The nonprofit ended up collecting more than $20 million through a Facebook fundraiser.

Little Food, High Fevers: Three Border Volunteers Allege Mistreatment Of Detainees

Jul 17, 2018
Courtesy of Yvette De Luna

We’re learning more about how migrants are being treated at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. Some volunteers from Texas and elsewhere are sounding an alarm, alleging migrants are not receiving proper health and medical care.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

Families who were separated crossing the U.S.-Mexico border can't be deported immediately after they are reunited — at least for the next week, a federal judge told the federal government Monday.

Many of President Trump's immigration policies are deeply unpopular, including recent efforts to deter illegal immigration by separating migrant families at the border, according to a new NPR-Ipsos poll.

But Americans are polarized in their attitudes about immigrants and the U.S. system for admitting them, the polls shows, with Republicans much more likely to support the president's policies, including the travel ban, the border wall, and changes to legal immigration.

Across the country, lawyers and advocates are working with U.S. government officials to reunite parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Over half of the children under the age of five were reunited this past week. Thousands more face a court-ordered deadline for reunification by the end of this month.

Taylor Levy is the legal coordinator for Annunciation House, a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas. She and her team are trying to help about 50 parents reunite with their children.

Alone in a Border Patrol detention facility, separated from her mother, 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid knew what she had to do.

She had to persuade somebody — anybody — to call her aunt. She knew the number by heart, she said, rattling it off as other migrant children around her cried. Her pleas were captured on audio covertly recorded inside the facility, and published on June 18 by a journalist at ProPublica.

Now, a month and two days after their separation, Jimena and her mother have been reunited at an airport in Houston.

On Thursday morning, two days after a court-imposed deadline, the Trump administration announced it had completed the first phase of reuniting immigrant families separated by its zero tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a joint statement by the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, government officials said they worked tirelessly to reunite 57 children under age five with their families.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET on Friday

On Thursday, two days after its original deadline, the Trump administration announced that it has complied with the first part of a court order to return the nearly 3,000 migrant children separated from their parents in recent months.

When President Trump signed the executive order last month that ended the separation of migrant families, he effectively swapped one controversial practice for another — in this case, the indefinite detention of whole families.

Of the nearly 3,000 migrant minors who were separated from their parents and placed in federal custody, the Trump administration says at least 102 are under 5 years old. And for several weeks, administration officials have been under a court-ordered deadline: Reunite those young children with their parents, and do it quickly.

Reynaldo Leal for The Texas Tribune

The court-imposed deadline is only a day away for the federal government to reunite the families of about 100 migrant children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. But a lawyer for the government said in court Monday that only two children of that "tender age" have been reunited so far.

Hundreds of Episcopal Church leaders from around the country protested the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy outside a detention center in Taylor on Sunday.

His name is Johan.

He drank a bottle of milk and played with a purple ball as he waited for the immigration judge, The Associated Press reported.

John W. Richardson, the judge at the Phoenix courthouse, said he was "embarrassed to ask" if the defendant understood the proceedings. "I don't know who you would explain it to, unless you think that a 1-year-old could learn immigration law," he told Johan's attorney.

Updated 10:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is asking a federal judge for an extension of the deadline set to reunify all of the migrant parents who were separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a court hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw delayed until at least Monday any decision on the government's request and he ordered the government to provide a complete list of the reunification status of 101 children under the age of 5 who have been separated from their parents.

The Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border is not just heartbreaking to other immigrants but also terrifying. Even immigrants who are in the country legally are beginning to worry that their families could be broken apart, too.

The anti-immigrant threats and actions have many Hispanic Americans in particular living on edge.

Tears immediately start streaming down the cheeks of Sarah, a Mexican immigrant, when she is asked about watching recent news stories on TV.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that the government will meet deadlines imposed by a federal judge to reunite migrant families that have been separated by the U.S. government.

At the same time, he criticized the deadlines as "artificial" and said that they could prevent the government "from completing our standard — or even a truncated — vetting process."

The Trump administration's separation policy has been met with widespread outcry, marches and legal action.

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

The federal government plans to meet a pair of ambitious court-ordered deadlines for reuniting families separated at the border — even though officials say doing so may mean relaxing government standards in the process of vetting those parents.

Activists in two separate protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies were arrested at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday — one group unfurling a banner calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while in another act of defiance, a woman climbed the statue's base to protest immigrant family separations.

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