Bob Menendez

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

Many Questions Remain About Reuniting Migrant Children With Their Parents

June 22, 2018 - 3:29 pm

ELIZABETH, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- President Donald Trump's order to stop separating migrant children from their parents spread confusion along the border, with officials still working on a plan to reunite families.

Parents who remained locked up struggled to get in touch with children being held in many cases hundreds of miles away. Some said they didn't even know where their children were. Others said they had been deported without them.

The uncertainty at the border resulted after Trump abruptly reversed policy in the face of an international outcry over the separation of families. The president said he would instead keep children and parents together. 

The reversal left a host of unanswered questions, including where the government will house newly detained migrants in an already overcrowded system, and precisely how parents and children will be kept together.

Speaking outside the Elizabeth Contract Facility where over 200 adult men are being held, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said he wants to know how reunification is going to happen.

"I expect that when the federal government stripped away a child from their parent that they created an identification process of who is the parent that is detained and where that child was sent," Menendez said. "And if that didn't happen then we will have a huge outcry and real consequences."

A senior Trump administration official said that about 500 of the more than 2,300 children taken from their families at the border in recent weeks have been reunited since May.

The administration began drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 migrants on U.S. military bases, though officials gave conflicting explanations as to whether those beds would be for children or for families.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)