Saturday, 17 November, 2018

US will reunite only half of migrant children by Tuesday deadline

US will reunite only half of migrant children by Tuesday deadline US will reunite only half of migrant children by Tuesday deadline
Patty Aguilar | 10 July, 2018, 12:48

Forcing families that have already suffered the vast trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday. Several other children can't be reunited with their parents because the adults have serious criminal records, the government said.

The American Civil Liberties Union received the list of the names of the almost 100 children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the border, according to a group spokesman.

More than 50 children younger than 5 who were taken from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border are expected to be reunited with them on Tuesday, lawyers for the federal government told a judge in San Diego on Monday.

The government sought an extension on the deadline, saying they needed more time to conduct DNA testing.

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the almost 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

Sabraw previously ordered that thousands more children aged five and older should be reunited with their parents by July 26, but Monday's hearing did not touch on their cases.

"The Government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunifications or burden class members", the Justice Department filing reads.

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"The judge made it very clear he wasn't going to allow the Trump administration to drag its feet on reunifying these children with their parents", Gelernt said.

And today the government revealed that for one child, they don't even have a parent's name, much less make contact. Some parents of children under 5 were already deported, presenting an extra challenge for reunification.

They are among more than 2,300 children split up from their families as a outcome of the "zero tolerance" practice that saw their parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, even if they did so to seek asylum.

Additionally, Gelernt took issue with the Trump administration's claim that it has lost track both of parents who have been released by ICE within the USA pending their immigration or asylum hearings and at least nine parents who it deported without their children. Its database has some information about the children's parents but was not created to reunify families by the court's deadline. Pacific Time on Tuesday to hear the Trump administration's final list of "groups of parents that will fall into category where it is impossible to reunite by tomorrow". She said Monday that they may have been incorrectly marked as deported. Parents already released into the US should be reunited with their children within 48 hours of the government contacting them, or within a week for parents already deported, he suggested.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the lead lawyer who argued for the preliminary injunction, said in a July 8 press release that the request for more time was unacceptable given the levels of trauma the children have already been subjected to.

Gelernt also told Judge Sabraw that based on reports he has received from attorneys on the ground, there are more immigrant children under five years old who were separated from their parents than the 102 identified by the Trump administration.

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