US President Donald Trump's decision to halt his administration's "Zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigrants has failed to quell the uproar across the world, as thousands of children who were taken away from their parents while crossing the southern US border and put into temporary shelters still have their fate in doubt.
Multiple local media cited government officials reporting that, on Friday, about 500 children taken under the custody of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had been reunited with their families. Yet the number remains only a fraction of the total 2,300 children that had been forcefully parted from their relatives since April.
The CBP provide only temporary accommodation for the migrant children during the few days that follow their apprehension, after which the responsibility of taking care the children falls on the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This US Customs and Border Protection photo dated June 17, 2018 obtained June 18, 2018 shows intake of illegal border crossers by US Border Patrol agents at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. Children have been taken away from their mothers and fathers in the Border Patrol's South Texas Rio Grande Valley sector, with many brought to the Central Processing Station in McAllen, Texas, since the policy was announced on May 7, according to Manuel Padilla, the Border Patrol sector chief. PHOTO / US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION/HANDOUT
Also on Friday, an HHS official told CNN, an American broadcaster, that it was working on sending the children in its care back to their families.
"Secretary [Alex] Azar is bringing to bear all the relevant resources of the department in order to assist in the reunification or placement of unaccompanied alien children and teenagers with a parent or appropriate sponsor," HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer told CNN.
President Trump signed an executive order that reversed the policy on June 20, despite defending it a day earlier. The mounting outcry is believed to have prompted the White House's U-turn.
The latest issue of the Time Magazine./VCG Photo
However, policy's backlash has not stopped at the president's submission to the public pressure. The continuous exposure of the poor living condition at the stopgap shelters as well as the heart-breaking moments when the boys and girls were removed from their parents' hold has only fueled the uproar.