Nearly 3,000 kids were separated from their parents as a result of the White House's zero tolerance immigration policy, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar estimated last week. The government has not said how many of them were reunited with their parents, and officials have asked for more time to meet one of the reunification deadlines.

For the parents and children who have been brought back together, the celebrations may be short-lived. After reunification, they face a series of other obstacles -- including long, complex legal proceedings, and possibly deportation. For children, the trauma of being separated from their parents will be long-lasting. Some families are only partially reunified; a child may be returned to his mother, for instance, while his father remains in detention.

Here's a look at some of the situations that families might face even after being reunited.


Doctors have called family separation "government-sanctioned child abuse." And even if immigrant children are reunited with their parents, they're often left with lasting scars. That psychological and biological damage, professionals say, can't be erased.

Children experience toxic stress and trauma as a result of being separated from their parents, wrote Daniel P. Keating, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, in an opinion for CNN. He said separation alters the way that children's brains work and can wreak havoc on their development.

"The core impacts of trauma and toxic stress include the disruption of their stress system, leading to lifelong behavioral problems, cognitive difficulties, chronic inflammation, impaired health, and even early death," Keating wrote. "Their attachment system will also be damaged, leading to persistent difficulties in making and sustaining successful relationships."

Read the full article at CNN.