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Judge: Border family reunification 'has been completed'

Samuel Cazun, of Guatemala, right, waves to his family at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport before reuniting with his father Edvin after being separated about a month ago at the southern border after they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States, Monday, July 23, 2018, in Hebron, Ky. Edvin said they were separated at the "detention" and he spent 15 days without knowing anything about his son. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The judge overseeing the chaos from President Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy gave the government good marks for its efforts to reunify families, saying that for the parents the government has control over “that process has been completed.”

But the judge, in a court hearing Friday, said there are still hundreds of other parents who weren’t in government custody who must now be tracked down. He didn’t blame the government for failing to reunify them, since they aren’t in government custody, but he did say they are the government’s responsibility.

“The government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process, and that’s where we go next is identifying and finding those parents who have been removed without children or who are in the interior and not presently located,” Judge Dana Sabraw said.

He praised the government for meeting his strict deadlines, set in June, that forced agencies to scramble to reunite young children with parents by July 10, and the rest of the juveniles by this week.

He said the government managed to reconnect 1,820 children.

“The government can only reunify families over which it has control. and it has control over the families, the parents and children, in its custody,” Judge Sabraw said.

The government is now preparing to deport as many as 1,000 of the parents who have a final deportation order lodged against them. Many of those parents will be deported with their children, but in more than 100 cases the parents have said they want to leave their children here — voluntarily separating their families — in order to give the children a chance at winning some legal status.

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