ACLU says less than half of child reunions will meet deadline

Frederick Owens
July 10, 2018

"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". But only 56 out of about 85 children under five who are eligible for reunification will have been reunited with their parents by the Tuesday deadline.

At a court hearing, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian acknowledged the Trump administration won't meet the deadline for all the youngsters.

Back in June, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction on the practice of family separation, and also stipulated that the remaining children aged 5 and over must be reunited by July 26.

Federal immigration authorities were preparing to return 54 young migrants to their parents Tuesday in a secretive operation that involves transporting children hundreds of miles to undisclosed locations around the country.

That's only about half of the 100 or so infants and toddlers covered by the order.

. On Monday, she said there were 102 children in that age group, and that two had already been returned to their parents.

Nine have parents who were released already from ICE custody and are somewhere in the US.

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.

Under the policy, adults who otherwise might have been directed into civil deportation proceedings were instead criminally prosecuted for entering the country illegally. "They have to determine the fitness of the parents to be able to release the kids to them", John noted.

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One there is no information on the parent.

Six of the 102 children are not eligible for reunification because they have a parent with a criminal history or were separated from someone who is not their parent.

Most parents have already been transferred to detention facilities in the vicinity of where their children are now held, Sarah B. Fabian, a Justice Department lawyer, said in court Monday. Children are handled by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

A court-imposed deadline to reunite immigrant children under five with their parents by July 10th will likely not be met.

Despite the progress over the weekend, a number of questions remained Monday.

"Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours ... has taken significant steps", Gelernt said.

The government announced last week that it would be using DNA testing to expedite confirmation of familial ties between adults coming forward to claim children, given that several agencies had been involved in the separation of families and that databases were not complete. That process requires lengthy background checks for potential sponsors, including parents. On Monday, we learned more details about why the government would not hit that deadline - and just how far from the goal it would get. "They certainly haven't reunited all the kids and parents who are noncriminals and don't fall out of the class". Thirty children will not be reunited by Tuesday, for a range of reasons. The ACLU would like a faster reunification process while the USA government claims they are bound by strict protocols, such as a plan to DNA test every child and parent before a reunification can occur.

At the hearing in San Diego, Judge Dana Sabraw gave the authorities extra time to determine which children will be back with their parents, as government lawyer Sarah Fabian said 54 of the youngsters could be returned to their parents by the Tuesday deadline, the U.S. media reports said.

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