family separation

The Trump administration is expanding its shelter capacity to handle a record number of immigrant teenagers who crossed the border seeking work and asylum. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is now overseeing the care of 12,800 immigrant children under the age of 18.

Just this week, a federally contracted tent camp on the U.S.-Mexico border in the barren desert near Tornillo, Texas, announced it is expanding from 1,200 to 3,800 beds. This is one in a network of 100 youth shelters across the country.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is proposing to lift court-imposed limits on how long it can hold children in immigration detention.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN News

Boca Raton-based private prison company GEO Group has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Miami-based activist group Dream Defenders, sparking a sharply worded response from the activist group. 

Courtesy Nora Sandigo

All alone, the frightened teen curled up behind a large, dusty tool box at a Homestead auto shop.

The 15-year Honduran immigrant girl— who for three weeks had been held at the Homestead detention center for immigrant minors—had just escaped from the care of facility workers who were taking her to a routine doctor’s appointment Friday morning, Homestead police said.

Elena Santizo sat by the departure gate in El Paso, Texas on Friday with a rosary around her neck, waiting nervously to board a plane for the first time in her life. Simply riding the escalator up to airport security gave the 39-year-old mother the jitters. She opted for the stairs instead.

"To tell my story is difficult," she said. "Everything I've lived through, so much, ever since I left Guatemala."

The U.S. government is racing to meet Thursday's court-ordered deadline to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border to discourage other illegal crossings. But the government has acknowledged many parents won't be able to rejoin their children. And for those parents who do get to be with their children again, the future is uncertain.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

A woman who was separated from her two sons at the U.S. border paid $15,000 in bond to be released from detention. But the federal government did not make arrangements to send her from the West Coast to Florida, where her children were being held, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said after meeting the woman on Friday.

A Texas nonprofit that works with families separated at the border has turned down a $250,000 contribution from Salesforce, a company under pressure for its work creating software for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

A federal judge in California has temporarily halted the deportation of immigrant families that have been reunited after being separated by the Trump administration.

The order was issued Monday by Judge Dana Sabraw, the same judge who previously ordered the government to reunite the families.

It comes as the Trump administration is scrambling to reunite roughly 2,550 immigrant children with their parents by the court-imposed deadline of July 26. What will happen to those families after reunification isn't clear.

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.

When it comes to immigration policy, American opinions often break down along party lines, with most Republicans supporting President Trump's views and Democrats vigorously opposed.

But according to a new NPR-Ipsos poll, there is an even better predictor of how you feel about immigration: where you get your TV news.

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.

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.

Ellis Rua / Miami Herald

Thousands of attorneys across the nation have been working for weeks to help children who were separated from their parents due to the Trump Administration’s now-scaled-back “zero tolerance policy” on illegal border crossings.

Sara B. Herald of the Miami-based law firm Bilzin Sumberg says those groups have been overwhelmed by the case loads. That's why Bilzin Sumberg and other firms around the country are stepping forward to help.

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.

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