Donald Trump has no answers for the border crisis. And things are about to get worse.
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 7/5/2018, 2:08 p.m.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) -- Although the family separation crisis at the nation's southern border has slipped off the front pages, the crisis remains: There are still more than 2,000 children still separated from their parents.
We think. Why don't we know the exact number? Because the US government continues to refuse to release any sorts of figures on how many children have been reunited with their parents.
In fact, after using the 2,000 figure for days, the Department of Health and Human Services now estimates it could be closer to 3,000.
How is President Donald Trump dealing with that crisis? By tweeting, of course.
Trump unleashed a trio of tweets Thursday morning -- all dealing with immigration.
"Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws now," he tweeted. "Law Enforcement at the Border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane. When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people 'OUT,' and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn. Hiring thousands of 'judges' does not work and is not acceptable - only Country in the World that does this!"
For good measure, Trump added: "Congress - FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!"
What you may have noticed in Trump's tweets is that there is a) no mention of the children already separated from their parents due to the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy and b) no clear directive to Congress about any sort of comprehensive immigration reform proposal aside from "FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW," which is, um, sort of non-specific.
What's remarkable about the lack of action -- or even a plan of action -- is that time is running out. Here are a few of the upcoming deadlines as set by a federal judge in California last week:
By Friday, the Trump administration is supposed to have guaranteed that every child separated from a parent as a result of the "zero-tolerance" policy at the border
By July 10, all children 5 and under have to be reunited with their parents (there are estimated to be around 100 of those kids)
By July 26, all children separated from their parents at the border have to be reunited
July 26 is three weeks from today. While it's possible that the Trump administration is, behind the scenes and without releasing any information on what they are doing, rapidly reuniting families, it's much more likely that isn't happening -- or at least at nothing close to the rate that would allow the government to reunite all kids and parents by the end of the month. On Thursday afternoon, HHS said it plans to meet the deadlines set by the California judge, although that might mean sending separated kids into detention facilities with their parents.
It's easy -- amid the numbers game and the various timelines -- to lose sight of something very, very important here: These are little kids we are talking about. Some younger than 5. As the father of two kids under age 10, I can't even imagine the terror these kids -- and their parents -- must be feeling. One time when my older son was 4, I couldn't find him in an outdoor mall for 10 minutes. I was absolutely panicked. So was he. That was 10 minutes. We are talking about days and week in some cases here.