ACLU says less than half of child reunions will meet deadline

Fewer than half of child reunions will meet Tuesday's deadline ACLU says

Fewer than half of child reunions will meet Tuesday's deadline ACLU says

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.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, said activists have turned up as many as 10 more names that need to added to the number of separated kids still in detention.

Of the almost 3,000 migrant minors who were separated from their parents and placed in federal custody, the Trump administration says at least 102 are under 5 years old. "And we were thrilled for them".

Sarah Fabian, a Justice Department lawyer, said of the original 102 children under age 5 identified as potentially separated from their parents, only 75 turned out to be eligible for reunification.

Late last month, Sabraw, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, set a 14-day deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents and a 30-day deadline for older children.

On Thursday, the government will give Sabraw a progress report on the younger children and whether it expects to meet the deadline for the older group.

Tornillo, about 50 miles southeast of El Paso, now houses more than 350 immigrant minors, including 16 children who were separated from their parents after they were apprehended at the border, said Rodriguez, who toured the facility Friday along with state Rep. Lina Ortega.

The ACLU's Gelernt said the government is not even close to reuniting all the children under 5 with their parents, including 12 adults who were deported without their children. "They are just using children!" he said. But the government does not have the room: ICE has three family detention centers with space for 3,000 people, and they are already at or near capacity, though the Trump administration is trying to line up space at military bases.

Ten of the children were ineligible for family reunification because their parent was in the "custody of U.S. Marshals Service" or "state or county custody".

They remained apart for two months, with Pulex in detention in El Paso and her daughter sent to live with a foster family in MI.


"I'm happy to finally be able to be with my child". "Those were the worst days of my life".

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.

"That is going to be a significant undertaking", Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to blame the Democratic Party, among others, for not fixing immigration.

On Monday, a federal judge refused to amend a previous court order mandating the maximum time a child can be detained under federal law, which the Trump administration argued was necessary due to backlogs in the court system. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

One immigration advocate told Reuters she was still awaiting details on when officials would return two children younger than 5 to their parents.

"Our clients still have not been reunified!" said Beth Krause, an attorney with Legal Aid Society's Immigrant Youth Project, in an email to Reuters.

She called the Justice Department's request to amend the settlement "cynical" and said it was an attempt to "shift responsibility to the judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate".

The government last week asked for more time to complete the reunification because it claimed it needed more time to ensure the children's safety and to confirm their parental relationships.

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