United States moves to unite migrant children with parents by deadline

Posted July 11, 2018

For the remaining almost 50 children, some of their parents have already been deported, while others were released and have already disappeared into the shadows of the illegal immigrant population, and the government has struggled to track them down.

One there is no information on the parent. "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".

"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", HHS Chief of Staff Chris Meekins, told reporters.

The decision came after a government lawyer said around half of the 102 young children could be placed back with their parents by the previously-given deadline of Tuesday.

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the almost 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

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Fabian said the plan for Tuesday's reunions was for the children to be released to Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, which runs the adult detention centers where their parents are being held.

I've talked with one family, a four and 10-year-old boy who were separated for months.

Six of the 102 children are not eligible for reunification because they have a parent with a criminal history or were separated from someone who is not their parent.

The hearing only covered the roughly 100 children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" border prosecution policy.

In a seven-page order, the judge called that request "a cynical attempt, on an ex parte basis, 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".

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For almost one month Perez knew nothing about her children - "the longest, most torturous time of my life", she said. Fabian said another 12 have parents in state or federal prison.

The government has offered a variety of reasons why they can't reunite different families.

The hearing Monday focused primarily on the status of the youngest children and did not include details on whether the government would be able to meet the deadline for reuniting the older children with their parents later this month.

"We just don't know how much effort the government has made to find released parents", he said. The parents will be free while their cases wind through immigration court, and they're expected to be required to wear ankle monitors, AP reports. The ACLU would like a faster reunification process while the USA government claims they are bound by strict protocols, such as a plan to DNA test every child and parent before a reunification can occur.

Also Friday, Fabian said 19 parents were deported and 19 were released. Eight other parents had serious criminal histories and the government found evidence of child abuse by another, according to the filing.

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Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, said in court that the government had taken "significant steps" to reunite families but should be moving more quickly.