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|September 20, 2018|
Immigration deadline for reuniting families remains, judge says
SAN DIEGO--A San Diego judge said he won’t extend deadlines he imposed for the U.S. to reunite children separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, as the government said logistical issues have complicated many of the reunions.
“I intend to stand on the deadline,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said at a hearing Tuesday. “The government, because of the way the families were separated, has an obligation to reunite and to do it safely and efficiently, that’s paramount.”
Sabraw told the government to provide an update by Thursday on the reunions and explanations on why some still haven’t been returned to their families. Shortly before the hearing began, the Trump administration told the court that while it can’t reunite all 102 children under the age of 5 with their undocumented parents by Tuesday’s deadline, 38 will be back with their parents by the end of the day. Sixteen more kids will be reunited shortly thereafter once their eligibility is confirmed, the Justice Department said.
“Any children not being reunified by the July 10 deadline are not being reunified because of legitimate logistical impediments that render timely compliance impossible or excusable, and so defendants are complying with the court’s order,” the Justice Department said.
Sabraw ordered kids under age 5 returned to their parents by July 10 and by July 26 for the rest of the children -- about 2,900, according to the judge. The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit, said Tuesday the government hasn’t attempted to contact some of the parents who were deported without their children.
“Their children are stranded in this country because of defendants’ actions, and yet defendants have apparently done nothing to facilitate their reunification,” the ACLU said.
Progress on reuniting children under age 5
The Department of Health and Human Services provided the following details in a conference call with the press Tuesday:
· 4 have been reunited with their families
· 34 will be reunited by end of day Tuesday after their parents cleared criminal background and DNA checks
· 16 others will be reunited soon, possibly Tuesday, pending test results to establish parentage
· 1 child is eligible for reunification but the government is still looking into the results of the parent’s criminal background check
· 16 aren’t eligible because their parents either had serious criminal histories, didn’t pass the DNA tests or vetting uncovered evidence that the children could be at risk of abuse or exposed to disease
· 10 can’t be reunited yet because their parents are in custody
· 1 child’s parents can’t be found
· 20 children are eligible to be reunited with their families, but their parents have either already been deported or have been released and are still being screened. (Source: Bloomberg)
Story Date: July 11, 2018