World

Government Won’t Reunite All Under-5 Children With Parents Before Tuesday Deadline

Government Won’t Reunite All Under-5 Children With Parents Before Tuesday Deadline

Lawyers for the Trump administration appeared once again in a courtroom in San Diego to ask a federal judge to push back his deadline for the reunification of children under five years old who were taken from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border.

The operation comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which last month won a preliminary injunction ordering speedy reunification of migrant families separated under the "zero-tolerance" policy on border enforcement that was put into place in May.

"I am encouraged by the progress", Judge Sabraw said.

"It is disgraceful that the Trump administration had no plan to reunite children after tearing them away from their parents, and it is even more disgraceful that they are now trying to delay the court-ordered deadline for doing so", Cummings wrote on Twitter.

About 40 other very young children will not be returned to their parents yet, despite a court-imposed deadline, because the Trump administration either has not finished matching children with their parents or has not cleared the parents to take custody.

For the remaining almost 50 children, some of their parents have already been deported, while others were released and have already disappeared into the shadows of the illegal immigrant population, and the government has struggled to track them down.

More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by USA immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry and said families should remain together. We are just asking that the parent be given back their child. They come amid a tide of national and global outrage over such young children being taken from their parents.

The judge directed the government to file a detailed accounting of the reunification process and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday at 11 a.m. PDT (1800 GMT).

Dana Sabraw, a federal judge in California, gave the administration until Tuesday to reunite children under five years old, and until July 26 to reunify older children.




Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday there were "under 3,000" children separated from their parents. The separations were in place from early May until Trump stopped the practice last month in the face of intense criticism.

"We will investigate and provide the government with a list of children who we think belong on the list", he said.

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

Fabian told the court that nine parents of children who are younger than 5 have been deported, making immediate reunification hard.

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

Gelernt said the government had up until now not agreed to alter its "cumbersome, lengthy" reunification process, which authorities say is necessary to ensure that children are not turned over to traffickers or other bad actors.

Also Friday, Fabian said 19 parents were deported and 19 were released.

Six of the 102 children on the list will not be reunited with the adult with whom they entered the country ― three of them based on the parent's criminal record and three because they were determined not to be related, Fabian said.

The government has offered a variety of reasons why they can't reunite different families. But as government employees would soon realize, they had their work cut out for them.