Trump Administration Seeks More Time to Reunite Families Separated at Border

by Garry Watts July 10, 2018, 0:02
Trump Administration Seeks More Time to Reunite Families Separated at Border

Before the USA reunites a child with a parent, the government must make sure that children will be safe and determine whether a parent is fit, Jonathan White, deputy director for children's programs at the department's Office of Refugee Resettlement, said in a court filing.

Sabraw, appointed in 2003 by President George W. Bush, late last month ordered federal officials to reunite all families within 30 days, and children under 5 within two weeks.

Once again, Southern District of California Judge Dana Sabraw held off on giving them an extension, and is instead demanding that they come back to court on Tuesday to explain how many families were reunited, why the government failed reunite the rest by the deadline, and how much more time it will need for those cases.

Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the US-Mexico border, at a news conference in July in NY.

The federal government is rushing to meet a deadline to reunite thousands of immigrant children separated from their parents under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

But the process has been complicated because the judge's ruling applied not only to children taken from their parents under the "zero-tolerance" border policy, but those separated for other reasons, several officials said. Releasing a child without a careful review could "expose him or her to trafficking or abuse", he said. "They will not remain in ICE custody".

HHS has further confirmed with the Department of Homeland Security that about 40 parents of children under 5 are in its custody and another nine are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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"Any confusion is due to a broken immigration system and court orders", Azar told reporters on Thursday.

Parents already released into the USA should be reunited with their children within 48 hours of the government contacting them, or within a week for parents already deported, he suggested.

Sabraw had mandated that the government reunite children younger than five with their parents on June 26. Those children range in age from 2 to 13 - meaning the youngest, a 2-year-old boy, should be on his way to his mother by early next week.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in court that the government had taken "significant steps" to reunite families but was still in violation of Sabraw's court order and should be moving more quickly.

The deadline for the list is on Saturday and USA officials are expected to reunite the first round of migrant children by July 10th.

Gelernt said the ACLU was concerned that parents would be put on the street without any money in an unfamiliar city. "At the same time, however, the Government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child". He also ordered the government to provide for communications between detained caregivers and their children and not to deport adults without their kids. All three parents in the D.C. lawsuit have spoken with their children, but the Honduran man was only able to speak with his daughter for the first time in almost a month on Tuesday.

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