Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump administration will miss deadline to reunite separated parents, children

Trump administration will miss deadline to reunite separated parents, children

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw - who last month called the family separation process "chaotic" and set a timetable for the government to reunite the families -said Monday he was pleased that the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union had worked together through the weekend to facilitate the return of the children to their parents.

The government admitted in federal court on Monday that it will not be able to meet a judge's deadline to reunite all kids under 5 years old who were separated from their parents at the border.

Eight have parents in federal criminal custody and are awaiting being handed over to ICE, while an additional four have parents in state or local criminal custody.

"I think the other point is, we just don't know how much effort the government has made to find released parents", Gelernt said.

That's only about half of the 100 or so children covered by the court order. The Trump administration is trying to line up thousands more beds at military bases.

In particularly, he said, parents who've already been released into the US and disappeared could be found.

DNA cheek swab tests on parent and child take almost a week to complete, said White, who called the risk of placing children with adults who aren't their parents "a real and significant child welfare concern". Yet in a disturbing investigation published Monday, BuzzFeed News has found that to not be the case, detailing the stories of several women who say they were ignored, roughly handled, shackled around the belly, and denied urgent medical care - even as they were miscarrying their children.

So far, the court has yet to change the reunification deadlines, which are set for July 10 for children under 5 and July 26 as the deadline for all children separated from their parents. One area of disagreement is DNA testing on parents and children, with the government saying it should be the general rule and the ACLU saying it should be done only when no other evidence is available to prove parentage.

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Sabraw declined on Friday to grant the government an extension but indicated he might be willing to do so if officials provided the court and the ACLU with a detailed list of the children and status of their reunification.

He scheduled another hearing for Tuesday morning to get further updates on the reunifications, which he ordered as part of a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

As for most of the rest of the under-5 children who have yet to reunited with their families, Fabian said that their parents have already been released into the USA, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.

"ICE will take custody and then release the parent and child together", she said.

Numerous numbers are still in flux.

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.

"There's no question that the parties are meeting and conferring", she said.

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.

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