A federal judge in California has ordered the Trump administration to reunite thousands of families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The decision follows an earlier one which initially stated that the administration was responsible for reuniting 2,800 families who were separated after June 26, 2018. But a watchdog report revealed that thousands of additional families may have been separated as far back as July 1, 2017. The judge, Dana Sabraw, has now included those families in his ruling.
Identifying the families will likely prove to be difficult, as the government did not have an adequate tracking system at the time of the separations. Per the Associated Press, Justice Department attorney Scott Stewart told Sabraw last month that adding more families to the order would be "a significant burden" and "blow the case into some other galaxy." Jallyn Sualog, the deputy director of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, said in a court filing that reviewing each additional case would require a "rapid, dramatic" expansion in staffing.
Sabraw acknowledged the difficulties, but also said identifying the families "clearly can be done."