Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump admin won't meet deadline to reunite separated families

Trump admin won't meet deadline to reunite separated families

The U.S. government is struggling to reunite immigrant families it separated at the border with Mexico and only about half the children under age 5 will be back with their parents by a court-ordered deadline of Tuesday, a government attorney told a judge on Monday.

As for most of the rest of the under-5 children who have yet to reunited with their families, Fabian said that their parents have already been released into the US, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the immigrant families, said it had heard of as many as 10 children under age 5 who were not on the government's list and was gathering more information.

At the hearing in San Diego, Judge Dana Sabraw gave the authorities extra time to determine which children will be back with their parents, as government lawyer Sarah Fabian said 54 of the youngsters could be returned to their parents by the Tuesday deadline, the U.S. media reports said.

The Justice Department has asked for more time to reunite parents - or to be excused from reuniting those who are deemed unfit parents - but Sabraw did not immediately rule on that request Monday.

Gelernt added, however, that he believed the government had made "significant" steps in the past 48 hours to unite parents with their children, and he called the effort "a blueprint for going forward with the remaining more than 2,000 families".

At a court hearing, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian acknowledged the government wouldn't meet the deadline for all the children, citing a variety of reasons, including that the parents of some of the youngsters have already been deported. But, the lawyer says he's disappointed that not all children will see their parents.

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 20 that he claimed would end family separation, but weeks later, as many as 3,000 children remained away from their parents. In the courtroom, they expressed openness to collaborating on several issues, including searching for parents who have been removed from the US and double-checking the criminal records.

So far, two children under 5 years old have been returned to their families.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parent".

Fabian attributed the holdup to difficulties tracking down some parents, and to necessary background checks on those whom they've found. "This is real progress and I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow, 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". Pacific Time on Tuesday to hear the Trump administration's final list of "groups of parents that will fall into category where it is impossible to reunite by tomorrow".

Children separated from their parents, some as young as 1 year old, are appearing in US immigration court.

"There's no question that the parties are meeting and conferring", District Judge Dana Sabraw said.

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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