US will reunite only half of migrant children by Tuesday deadline

10 Juillet, 2018, 12:48 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

But reuniting the remainder has proved to be a much tougher task for Justice and immigration officials, who for months separated migrant families at the U.S-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy.

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

US District Court Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered the list to be handed over by Saturday evening as he considers whether to extend the Tuesday deadline to reunify the families.

The hearing followed a feverish weekend of talks between the administration and the ACLU after the judge refused on Friday to grant a blanket extension to the deadline, saying instead that he would only consider certain exceptions.

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 government separated them from their parents.

As daunting as the process appeared in court, this week's deadline concerns less than 5 percent of the children separated from their parents in recent months. Yet in a disturbing investigation published Monday, BuzzFeed News has found that to not be the case, detailing the stories of several women who say they were ignored, roughly handled, shackled around the belly, and denied urgent medical care - even as they were miscarrying their children.

During separation, parents were sent into federal custody while the children were taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and held at holding facilities often thousands of miles (kilometers) from their parents.

Four have parents who are in state criminal custody.

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One of the reasons that we asked the court to order the government to provide us a very specific list of the families and any information the government had about those families, is so that we can mobilize the enormous volunteer effort on the ground to help find parents and children.

"This is real progress, I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow", he told the courtroom. Its database has some information about the children's parents but was not created to reunify families by the court's deadline.

Fabian reportedly said that the reunited families will be released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody ahead of immigration proceedings.

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. She said Monday that they may have been incorrectly marked as deported.

Sabraw had ordered the July 10 deadline in response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parent", ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt told the Associated Press.

For the more than 50 children who the government says will be reunited tomorrow, what are you expecting that moment to be like for those kids and those parents?

As the ACLU and the Trump administration work together over the course of Monday and Tuesday to locate and reunite as many families as possible before the court's original Tuesday deadline, Gelernt demanded permission from the court to allow immigrant advocates and faith-based groups to know the location of these reunions.

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