Friday, November 23, marks 120 days since a federal judge’s deadline for the Trump administration to return children kidnapped from the arms of parents at the southern border, yet children remain under U.S. custody. Of 25 kids eligible for reunification, according to the most recently available numbers, the parents of 18 have already been deported.
One child separated from their family is one too many, yet the administration has a record number of migrant kids—14,000, according to officials—in U.S. custody, the vast majority of them minors who came to the U.S. alone. These kids could get released to sponsors, including relatives, but officials have been roadblocking this process, including arresting dozens of potential sponsors who have stepped forward.
Making their ongoing detention all the more obscene is that it falls on a national holiday that celebrates another group of undocumented immigrants, the Pilgrims. Some of today’s young pilgrims, themselves fleeing persecution and other dangers, appeared in immigration court this week, where their cases continue to play out.
“Are you all familiar with Thanksgiving?” Judge Chris Brisack asked a group of unaccompanied minors represented by attorneys from the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Silence was the response, the Houston Chronicle reported. “It is one day a year,” Brisack continued, “where people are supposed to take some time and just be thankful for things.” Again, the response: silence.
The humanitarian disaster that is family separation will remain a crisis so long as children continue to remain in U.S. custody and apart from their families, but there is good work being done to help them. On this Black Friday, consider making a donation through ActBlue to benefit some of the groups doing important work to protect migrant kids and keep families together.