On Saturday evening, Hillary Clinton appeared on stage at an outdoor music and cultural festival in New York City and vowed to help reunite immigrant families with the children who were kidnapped by the Trump administration.
“I’m going to be tweeting about this in the days to come, but if any of you work for an airline please direct message me because these families will need vouchers and discounted tickets to be reunited over these thousands of miles,” she told a large crowd at New York City’s OZY Fest on Saturday evening.
She was referring to the children who were forcibly separated from their families on Donald Trump’s orderers earlier this summer. More than 3,000 kids — some younger than five years old — were kept in caged facilities by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. After widespread public outcry — and several court orders — Trump backtracked on the policy and his administration was forced to begin reuniting children with their parents.
But so far, the Department of Homeland Security — which oversees ICE — has willfully dragged their feet in reunited children. Despite a federal judge demanding that the youngest abductees be reunited by July 10, the administration took two more days to comply with the order. And even then, nearly half of the children in question — 46 of the 103 covered by the court order — remained separated, with the administration claiming they were ineligible for reunification for a myriad of different reasons.
The court also imposed a second deadline of July 26 by which time DHS must reunited roughly 2,500 other children aged 5 to 17 with their families. On Friday, the Department of Justice said it had already reunited 450 children, leaving more than 2,000 still awaiting reunification by Thursday’s deadline.
While the administration claims it is doing everything in its power to reunite the children they kidnapped, there is ample evidence they have made it as hard as possible for some parents to reunite with their children.
In many cases, children have been flown thousands of miles away to be held in detention facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The government has demanded that families pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for plane tickets and in-flight escorts to send a child back to their home state.
And the government acknowledges that it has lost track of hundreds of parents they have either already deported or released back into the country. According to the Texas Tribune, the government has identified 222 parents who were detained, separated from their children, and then released without any way of getting in touch with them.
For weeks, Clinton — who easily won the popular vote in the last presidential election — has been urging Americans to provide support for a handful of organizations that are working with immigrant families, and particularly the youngest children who have been left traumatized and emotionally scarred by the Trump administration. Her work on behalf of young children long predates her political ambition.