U.S. Can't Reunite All Immigrant Toddlers by Tuesday Deadline

Frederick Owens
July 13, 2018

The Trump administration said it identified about 100 children under age 5 who were likely separated from their parents at the border, but as of Tuesday said some could not yet be reunited, in part due to an intensive screening process typically used for minors who come to the USA alone before they are released to sponsors. The Department of Health and Human Services, which has custody of the minors, and the Department of Homeland Security, which has custody of most of the adults, said in joint statements that they reunited 57 children with their parents.

About a week after Trump signed the order, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego ordered that all children be returned within 30 days.

Another 2,000 to 3,000 migrant children ages five to 17 must be reunited by 26 July, a USA judge has ordered.

Immigrant children around the US left shelters with their backpacks and a tender goodbye hug from staff members onTuesday as the Trump administration began reuniting dozens of youngsters with their parents under a court-ordered deadline.

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 United States, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges. "These are firm deadlines", he said.

Dozens of immigrant children will be released from detention centres and reunited with their parents on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time). The administration uncovered one case in which the "parent's location has been unknown for more than a year", according to a recent court filing. "We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the so-called "zero tolerance" policy, and once and for all we must end family detention".

Catholic Charities, which helped place some of the children in shelter facilities after their separation, held a news briefing in NY at which a handful of the reunited parents expressed relief after weeks of anxiety over the separations.

Fabian attributed the holdup to difficulties tracking down some parents, and to necessary background checks on those whom they've found.

The Trump administration said Thursday it had reunited all eligible children and adults.

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The Trump administration announced Thursday that it had completed a court-mandated effort to reunify toddlers separated from their families at the border. A few months after announcing that his administration would undertake a "zero tolerance" policy that took children from their parents, Trump was forced to back away from the policy after drawing global outrage. The U.S. government is in the process of contacting the 12 adults who were deported and working with foreign consulates in an effort to return their children to them, the officials said.

Before departing the White House for Europe, Trump said, "That's the solution".

The Justice Department has insisted that its "zero tolerance" immigration policy - which focuses on prosecuting all adults who illegally enter the United States but not necessarily detaining them - is still intact.

"The proposal in that order is not to wait to reunite those families until then", Orihuela argued. At Tuesday's hearing, he said the process is taking too long and needs to be "streamlined".

Javier, a 30-year old from Honduras, holds his 4-year old son William during a media availability in NY after they were reunited after being separated for 55 days following their detention at the Texas border, U.S., July 11, 2018. But as government employees would soon realize, they had their work cut out for them. And in one case, the government has lost track of a child's parent for more than a year.

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

Staff members at a nonprofit organization that has been housing numerous youngest children 'made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye, ' Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said.

But Meekins said the measures are created to protect children. Albence said an adult who previously said he did not want to be reunited with his child had changed his mind.

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