A group of Boston attorneys are back from a trip to Honduras, where they met with two sets of parents who were deported from the United States without their children. The lawyers have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding the return of the children. Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice is one of the attorneys representing the families. He spoke with WGBH All Things Considered anchor Barbara Howard about the trip and the letter. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: There are two children involved here, one from each family. The 6-year-old, Carlos, is being held in New York. The 16-year-old, Kenia, is being held in Texas. The parents were undocumented, and they are now back in Honduras. How did they end up getting separated from their children?

Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal: The parents presented themselves at the border and voluntarily surrendered themselves and children to immigration officials

Howard: Looking for asylum.

Espinoza-Madrigal: And they were immediately detained and taken to an immigration facility where they were held in separate cages. Within a matter of days, the children were removed from that facility and placed in a separate detention center over the parents’ objections. Immediately after they were separated from their children, they were desperate and they asked immigration how they could secure their children. They were told that if you self-deport, we will be able to reunite you with your child. They self-deported under the impression that they would be immediately reunited with their children, but that never materialized.

Howard: The federal courts ordered the reunification of these families, setting a deadline of July 26. It's been over a month since that deadline. How many kids like these are still out there?

Espinoza-Madrigal: There are nearly 500.

Howard: Immigration authorities say that what's holding things up is that in some cases, the parents are back in their home countries, and they just can't be found. Is that so? How did you find these specific parents?

Espinoza-Madrigal: The Lawyers Committee was in Honduras gathering facts, and it was extraordinarily easy to find families that had been tricked into accepting self-deportation, and who still had not been reunited. We found two families within a matter of days of being in Honduras.

Howard: And those were the families of Carlos and Kenia. When your lawyers met with these two families, how were the parents doing?

Espinoza-Madrigal: The parents are devastated. They feel that they were tricked into waiving their immigration and legal rights.

Howard: Now the parents say that they have had contact with their kids. How are they saying the kids are doing?

Espinoza-Madrigal: The parents have received a few phone calls from the children. These phone calls have been arranged by the facilities where the children are held. So it's clear that the government knows where the parents are located and how to get a hold of them. It's unclear, then, why the government says that it's tough for them to match them up. But in the course of these phone calls, what the parents are expressing is just heartbreaking. The children are desperate to be reunited with their parents. In the case of the little 6-year-old boy, he has been bullied in the detention facility by kids who are older. Most of the kids in the facility are 12,13,14 years old. They tied him up with a rope.

Howard: Now the 16-year-old girl, Kenia - what are her prospects for release?

Espinoza-Madrigal: We still have no date certain for her release. No immigration court hearing has been scheduled, and she has been told by staff at her facility that she should not expect to be reunited with her family any time before October.

Howard: Now you're representing these two kids from two families, Carlos and Kenia. And the letter that you've sent to Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general, is giving the government 72 hours to respond to begin the reunification process. Have you heard anything back? And when was the letter sent?

Espinoza-Madrigal: We sent a letter yesterday, and we received a response from the federal government - at least an initial response - yesterday. And the government is basically saying we need more time to reunify these children.

Howard: It's been over a month since the deadline for reunification for families like these, and it's clear the court order is not being met. So tell me, how is it enforced and who is held accountable?

Espinoza-Madrigal: The court could hold the federal officials in contempt for failing to abide by the existing court order. There is no legal impediment for getting Carlos on a plane to go back to Honduras and be reunited with his parents.

Howard: Thanks for joining us, Ivan.

Espinoza-Madrigal: Thank you, Barbara.

Howard: That's Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal of the Boston based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. That group met in Honduras with two sets of parents who were separated from their children at the U.S. border and are now trying to bring their children home from U.S. detention. WGBH News has reached out to the Department of Justice for comment. We have not yet received a response. This is WGBH’s All Things Considered.