ACLU says less than half of child reunions will meet deadline

Jul 12, 2018, 20:44
ACLU says less than half of child reunions will meet deadline

A government lawyer said on Monday (Tuesday NZT) at least 54 children under the age of 5 would join their parents by a court-ordered deadline, only about half the 100 or so children covered by the order. During Tuesday afternoon's court hearing, Judge Sabraw stated that he expected administration officials to reunite as many as 63 of the eligible separated children with their parents by the deadline.

The struggle to track and match parents with children under five suggests meeting a Jul 26 deadline for reuniting the remaining older children could be fraught with problems.

Immigrant parents who reveled after joyful reunions with their young children spoke Wednesday of the traumatic impact of being separated from their sons and daughters for months after they were taken from them at the US border.

Twelve adults were not reunited with their children because the adults had been deported and the USA government is in the process of contacting them, the statement said. As for the 64 children who remain in custody, the administration provided a list of excuses that includes reasons behind the failure to reunify 64 of the children, such as eight "parents had serious criminal history" or one "parent detained in ICE custody is now being treated for a communicable disease". It's unclear exactly how many older children must be reunited with their parents, but the Health and Human Services department has pegged the number at fewer than 3,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle McConaghy told the judge the government has a plan to reunify all parents and children by the deadline. He ordered both sides back in court on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) to give another update and for him rule on differences over protocols to follow when reuniting the remaining children. "This is real progress and I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow, and then we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not, and what time-frame will be in place".

Some parents who were already deported may choose not to have their child sent to them, in some cases because the child has other family in the US or can pursue asylum or other relief. "They've missed the deadline and must be held accountable".

Most of the parents will be released into the US from immigration detention centers, and the children will be freed from government-contracted shelters. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

"When they release the parent they just don't walk out the door with no record", Gelernt said. He stated, "These are firm deadlines". Speaking outside the White House before flying to Europe, Trump said: "Well, I have a solution. They're not aspirational goals", the judge said.

"Tomorrow there will hopefully be more than 50 babies and toddlers reunited with their parents, and that is obviously an enormous victory", he said. Although President Trump's executive order supposedly puts a stop to the family separation practice, documents newly obtained by Slate show the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement has begun discussing the possibility of a "surge" in child separations, with officials proposing the financial implications of an additional "25,400 beds for immigrant minors by the end of the calendar year". Because parents can't take their children to jail, they were separated. Two others' status could change: One adult had a falsified birth certificate and whether they are the true parent is still being determined, and another is being treated for a disease, according to the government.

Also, on Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles emphatically rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families for an extended period. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

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