Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Government Will Miss Deadline To Reunify Young Children With Parents

Government Will Miss Deadline To Reunify Young Children With Parents

Forcing families that have already suffered the vast trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday.

Fabian didn't say why they were being released, but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has little space to hold families. The ACLU would like a faster reunification process while the US government claims they are bound by strict protocols, such as a plan to DNA test every child and parent before a reunification can occur.

We are thrilled that more than 50 little children will be reunited with their parents by tomorrow, but we are extremely disappointed that it's not a greater number.

Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the Tuesday reunification deadline, said he was still encouraged by the numbers and by the government's push to get things done. "And then we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not and what time frame will be in place".

Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian provided the court with the most detailed data thus far on the 102 children under age 5 whom it identified as separated from their parents at the border.

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Under normal circumstances the government said it would perform extensive checks on all those in the household where an illegal immigrant child being released from federal custody would end up.

Because ICE has not yet built detention centers suitable to hold young children, Fabian told the court on Monday, the reunited families will be set free on supervised released while they pursue their asylum claims. "We just don't know how much effort the government's made to find" the parents.

"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. The ACLU and government are now working together to reunite the families.

Last week, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said "under 3,000" children were still 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.

Under the policy, adults who otherwise might have been directed into civil deportation proceedings were instead criminally prosecuted for entering the country illegally.

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We are going to propose within 48 hours of contacting a parent who is in the USA, and within one week of contacting a parent who's already been removed to another country.

Among the other remaining question marks is whether authorities can streamline their vetting process for the migrant parents - which ACLU attorneys have described as needlessly cumbersome - and whether the government can pass along the locations migrant families will be released from custody, so that charity groups can more quickly offer them support. 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.

A number of children can not be released to their parents, either because the parents were released from custody into the United States or deported or because the parents are serving criminal sentences.

Monday's hearing set the stage for a dramatic day of reunifications on Tuesday across the country, though they are likely to occur largely outside public view.

"The kid and parent are going to walk out into the United States with no money, nowhere to stay", he said.

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Judge Sabraw said that that information should be shareable with trusted groups under the protective order he had already approved.

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