Did the government really meet the deadline to reunite families? Former U.S. Attorney shares details on the case
Former U.S. Attorney Mitch Epner joins The Matt Bubala Show to give an update on children that were separated from families in the midst of Trump’s zero tolerance policy. U.S. officials initially separated more than 2,500 kids from parents at the border of Mexico. But, it was suspended by Trump after heavy backlash. A court order was to reunite the families by July 26.
Epner says that the true version of this story was that the ‘Trump administration decided what they were going to do was criminally arrest everybody that crossed the border [that was not] at a port of entry.” This policy was fairly new, but Epner says it was short lived because it took too many resources from the U.S. Attorney offices. Now, the policy in operation is that families will not be arrested criminally if their only crime is illegal entry without previously being deported. He says based on testimonies, the Trump administration were warned about a zero tolerance policy in place. Epner says that the administration “didn’t have plans in place to ever reunite families and it would inflict severe and permanent harm on children and families.” Epner says the message was for illegals to not cross the border.
So, what happens now? Based on a recent report of The Washington Post, 1,442 children have been reunited with their parents. However, 711 children are still in government shelters because their parents either have criminal records or because their cases are still under review. The Post reported that 431 parents of the lost children have been deported. Epner says there is another issue. An two decade old court order said that you can’t indefinitely hold children in immigration detention while the immigration status is being determined. Right now, “there is a fight going on right now about whether or not the children can be held with their families in immigration detention.”
For more information on what Epner is doing now, check out the update on his current law firm work here.