USA will reunite and release over 50 immigrant children

Posted July 11, 2018

Facing a court-imposed deadline on Tuesday, the USA government has said it expects to have reunited 54 young children and parents separated by immigration officials after crossing into the United States from Mexico.

"Well, I have a solution".

In this photo June 17 photo provided by US Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at an immigration centre in McAllen, Texas. The decision came in a preliminary injunction after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit.

"Things have taken a real step forward", Gelernt said.

A federal judge told the Trump administration on Tuesday to lay off using some of its most stringent vetting procedures before reuniting families separated at the border.

One child has not been matched with a parent, Fabian said.

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Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the US-Mexico border, at a news conference in July in NY. The adults may be required to wear ankle monitors while their cases wind through immigration court, a process that can take years.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month promising to end the practice of child separation at the border.

Presenting parents with that harsh choice will prevent them from using court orders created to protect their children "to bootstrap a right to [their own] release", Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart said in federal court Tuesday while discussing a separate order to reunite families.

But government officials say they need additional time to track down dozens of parents who are no longer in custody, including 19 who were already deported, Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said at a hearing Friday.

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

So far, the government has reunited four of the children in its custody, and expects to reunite another 34 by Tuesday's deadline.

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"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parent", ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. Some children were brought to the U.S. by someone who was not their biological parent, it said, adding that others had parents with serious criminal records.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Chris Meekins, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said the administration has tried to speed up reunifications by adding extra staff to conduct criminal background checks and determine claims of parentage.

For the parents and children who have been brought back together, thecelebrations may be short-lived. An additional 20 children have purported parents with whom they can not be reunited because those adults have already been either removed from the United States or released into the country, which removes DHS and HHS's ability to force them to come get the children they claim are theirs. The families will be released after they are reunited.

In court filings, the ACLU has said the government is asking for needless provisions for reuniting families that would not happen if the families had not been separated in the first place.

Also, on Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles emphatically rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families for an extended period.

The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two children under five who meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday. The judge refused to modify that.

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