Most migrant parents transferred recently to Seattle-area detention facilities have been reunited with their children, but some haven’t and the government isn’t moving to change that, according to a legal advocate.
While the government scrambles to meet the July 26 deadline to reunite separated migrant families, few, if any, reunifications are expected to happen in the Seattle area.
Of the 59 parents known by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) to have been transferred to local detention facilities recently, most have either been released on bond — and reunited with their children in other areas — or sent by the government to Texas, where they had their children returned after being released.
As of Thursday, however, NWIRP had received no word of reunifications for 13 of 24 parents sent to Texas, according to the legal organization’s executive director, Jorge Barón.
That includes Ibis Obeida Guzman Colindres, a Honduran mom denied bond by an immigration judge at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. She has a 5-year-old son.
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“It’s been a month and I haven’t heard my son’s voice,” Guzman Colindres told The Seattle Times in June. It’s now more than a month later.
Barón said he was hopeful the parents remaining in detention in Texas will get their children back soon.
He was not as optimistic about nine parents still detained at either the Tacoma facility or the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, where federal officials initially transferred a large group of detainees. The government doesn’t seem to be moving toward reunifying them with their children, according to Barón.
Their children have been released to relatives or other sponsors, and the government is taking the position that such cases are not covered by the July 26 deadline, he said.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson had no immediate comment.
In mid-July, Yolany Padilla, who chose to stay in the area after being released on bond in Tacoma, hugged her son for the first time in nearly two months at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The government flew her 6-year-old here.
“It’s been so long since I’ve seen him … I felt like my heart was going to come out of my body,” Padilla said at the time.