Trump administration to miss deadline to reunite all children under five with families
So far, DoJ has reunited only two of the 102 children and said it expects to reunite another 54 by tomorrow’s deadline
The US government has only managed to reunite two of 102 migrant children under the age of five with their families after they were separated at the southern perimeter, and has admitted it will not be able to meet a federal district judges deadline for them all to be reunited by Tuesday.
In a hearing on Monday, the Department of Justice told Judge Dana Sabraw that it expects to reunite another 54 infants by tomorrow’s 10 pm deadline, which would leave approximately4 6 children separated.
The American Civil Liberties Union( ACLU ), which sued the government over family separations forcing Sabraws ruling, slammed the government for using a long, drawn-out administrative process that it told constructs no sense.
These children have already suffered so much because of this policy, told ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. Every extra day apart merely adds to that pain.
The government is using procedures from its process of reuniting unaccompanied minors, which the ACLU argues is not necessary because the children were not unaccompanied until the governmental forces divided them from their parents.
DoJ attorney Sarah Fabian said the government was still working to do background checks and confirm the relationships between the adults and children in its custody.
More than 2,000 infants were forcibly separated from their parents at the Mexican border this spring for the purposes of the Trump administrations zero-tolerance immigration policy on illegally entering the country. While mothers were prosecuted, children were placed in the detention of the Health and Human Services Department in facilities dotted across the country.
Amid an international outcry, Donald Trump reversed course on 20 June and told families should remain together.
On 26 June, Sabraw set the government deadlines to reunite children under five, who are being held at so called tender age shelters , with their families by Tuesday. The government has until 26 July for older infants. Sabraw, who was appointed by Republican chairman George W Bush, wrote that the situation has reached a crisis level and that the chaotic situations were of the governments own making.
During the hearing the ACLU also accused the Trump administration of missing 10 children in its count of those in its detention aged newborn to five.
Sabraw denied a DoJ request for a blanket extension on Friday, but appears likely to grant short extensions for all the yet-to-be reunited children tomorrow when the ACLU and government return to court.
Sabraw said on Monday he was very encouraged with the progress built in so far, and ordered the government to provide a listing by 6pm PT with the most current status on each of the individual cases. Sabraw has asked the governmental forces for specific reasons for each failed reunification.
The DoJ argued there are a number of reasons for the lag. Some of the children were brought to the US by someone who is not their biological mother, for example, while others have mothers with serious criminal records.
According to the DoJ, 12 of the children under five have mothers either in local or federal criminal detention who must serve hour before being transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or Ice, a law enforcement bureau within the Department of Homeland Security. Another 18 have parents who were lost by the administration after their deportation or released into the US.