Government will meet court deadlines

Jul 06, 2018, 23:40
Government will meet court deadlines

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called those deadlines "extreme" and "arbitrary" in a call with reporters on Thursday, but said the agency is doing its best to comply. His team said the procedures were "harmless" cheek swabs.

A federal judge in San Diego who had been hearing the case of a woman separated from her child ruled on June 26 that the families must be reunited within 30 days of his order, and by July 10 if the children are younger than 5.

In Friday's legal request - the government asked for more time and clarification on if their current process for confirming parentage is consistent with the court's mandate and "seeks clarification that in cases where parentage can not be confirmed quickly, HHS will not be in violation of the Court's order if reunification occurs outside of the timelines provided by the Court". The HHS secretary said that number refers to children "who may have been separated from their purported parents who were taken into DHS custody for having crossed illegally or for other reasons like concerns for the safety of the child". About 80 percent of those children arrived unaccompanied at the border, and many are teenage boys.

It's also possible not all parents will be reunited with their children; HHS has a strict set of guidelines the agency must follow to determine a suitable sponsor, including a home visit and a criminal background check.

Azar said his department has more than 230 people working on just trying to match children with their parents.

The Trump administration has been facing continued scrutiny and questions over what will happen to the undocumented families who were separated as a result of the administration's widely criticized "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

On June 20, the Department of Health and Human Services said there were 2,053 children from separated families in its care. "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in early May. Officials there say they know the locations of all the children - some were sent hundreds of miles away to shelters around the country operated by nonprofits that care for them until a parent or other sponsor is identified.

"This would allow the government to conduct surveillance on these children for the rest of their lives". DHS's attempt to attribute it to the president's controversial immigration push appears to ignore the agency's own statement, which links to US Customs and Border Protection numbers showing that there's a decline in apprehensions almost every year around this time.

"When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our", Trump wrote.

Trump has spoken out repeatedly against lengthy judicial processes to determine migrants' eligibility for immigration, asylum or deportation, arguing they are a waste of USA resources.

It was the latest conflicting message by Trump to Congress. Before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, migrants seeking asylum under USA laws were often granted temporary release as their cases were resolved. The Justice Department lawyers also asked the court to clarify the start date for separations, as some families were separated before the official start date of the "zero tolerance" policy in May 2018.

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