Botched family reunifications left migrant children waiting in vans overnight

But when the children, all between 5 and 12 years old, arrived at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s adults-only Port Isabel Detention Center, rather than seeing their parents, they saw a parking lot full of vans just like theirs, with children from other facilities who, just like them, were waiting to be processed and reunified with their parents.

It was 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Not until 39 hours later — after two nights in a van — did the last child step out of a van to be reunited. Most spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles…

“The children were initially taken into the facility, but were then returned to the van as the facility was still working on paperwork,” explained Carter. “The children were brought back in later in the evening, but returned to the vans because it was too cold in the facility and they were still not ready to be processed in.”