USA seeks to reunite more young immigrants as new deadline looms

12 July, 2018, 15:47 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Fewer than half of child reunions will meet Tuesday's deadline ACLU says

"They have to determine the fitness of the parents to be able to release the kids to them", John noted.

The announcement comes as the USA government scrambles to reunite thousands of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

"The Trump administration's failure to meet the court's deadline to reunite families separated at the border shows the administration's ongoing neglect and disregard for the wellbeing of immigrants", Javier Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said in a statement.

The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite perhaps 2,000 or so older children with their families. Before the parent-child separations became widespread, the government operated three family detention centers with bed space of about 3,300.

Gisela, a Mexican citizen, said she only spoke to her son once while she was detained in Texas and he was at a shelter for children in Phoenix. "Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be USA citizens".

The Department of Justice asked Gee to alter a 1997 settlement, which provides the framework for how to handle detained immigrant children, so it could detain families together for longer periods. Previously, the DoJ had only informed the ACLU that the father was missing.

Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an worldwide outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.

Federal judge Dana Sabraw is in charge of the case, which was originally filed by the ACLU against ICE in March.

He spoke Wednesday at Annunciation House, an El Paso, Texas-based shelter, along with another father recently reunited with his child.


In separating families, Trump sought to advance a hard-line immigration policy that past administrations had considered and quickly abandoned as inhumane.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that by the end of the day, he expects 38 children will have been reunited with their parents. "That's the solution." Some of the separated families arrived at USA ports of entry seeking asylum, which is not illegal. Under Sabraw's order last month, the rest of the minors will need to be returned to their families by July 26.

However, Sabraw has not been pleased with the government's efforts.

Catholic Charities, which helped place some of the children in shelter facilities after their separation, held a news briefing in NY at which a handful of the reunited parents expressed relief after weeks of anxiety over the separations.

The judge said he would hold frequent status conferences to make sure the reunification process is proceeding as scheduled. "That can be done".

Sabraw approved on Tuesday the ACLU's suggested legal notice that will be provided to immigrant parents, which explains they have a right to be reunited and remain in the country to pursue asylum.

"These are firm deadlines. They're not aspirational goals", the judge said.

On Tuesday, Trump gave his solution to the family separation and reunification crisis. "Tell people not to come to our country illegally", he said. "That's the solution." Apparently, the president wasn't informed that his administration very well may have separated a legal US citizen from his child, a problem to which his "solution" does not apply.

This sort of carelessness raises major questions ahead of an even more significant deadline than Tuesday's: Sabraw had also ordered the government to reunite all of the almost 3,000 children it took from parents by July 26.

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