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Federal judge orders migrant families to reunite within 30 days – what now?




Linda Posada holds up a sign that reads, ' we belong together,' as mayors with the U.S. Conference of Mayors speak at the Tornillo-Guadalupe port of entry to call for the immediate reunification of separated immigrant families on June 21, 2018 in Fabens, Texas.
Linda Posada holds up a sign that reads, ' we belong together,' as mayors with the U.S. Conference of Mayors speak at the Tornillo-Guadalupe port of entry to call for the immediate reunification of separated immigrant families on June 21, 2018 in Fabens, Texas.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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The clock is ticking for the Trump administration after a federal judge ordered the thousands of migrant children and parents who were forcibly separated at the Mexican border reunited within 30 days, sooner for youngsters under 5.

The hard deadline was set Tuesday night by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego after President Donald Trump's order ending his policy of separating families gave way to days of uncertainty, conflicting information and no word from the administration on when parents might see their children again.

The ruling poses a host of logistical problems for the administration, and it was unclear how it would meet the deadline. Health and Human Services, which is in charge of the children, referred questions to the Justice Department. The Justice Department said the ruling makes it "even more imperative that Congress finally act to give federal law enforcement the ability to simultaneously enforce the law and keep families together."

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters - hundreds of miles away, in some cases - under a "zero tolerance" policy toward families caught illegally entering the U.S. Many are from drug- and violence-wracked Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

So long it will take to reunite families? And what does that mean for those who entered the country illegally? We explain.

With files from the Associated Press

Guests:

Nick Miroff, national security reporter covering immigration enforcement, drug trafficking and the Department of Homeland Security for the Washington Post; he tweets @NickMiroff

Ted Hesson, employment and immigration reporter for POLITICO who has been following the story; he tweets @tedhesson