Judge Extends Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Children

Judge Extends Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Children

Judge Extends Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Children

The U.S. government must reunite more than 60 children under the age of five who were separated by immigration officials after crossing into the United States from Mexico as soon as Tuesday or face penalties, a federal judge said. Thirty-four have been found to be the actual parents and passed criminal background safety measures and are expected to be placed with children Tuesday, the other 17 are at various stages of completing those checks.

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. Today's secretive reunification operation will be overseen by the Department of Homeland Security and will involve transporting the children hundreds of miles across the country to undisclosed locations.

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.

The filing noted 13 others now deemed ineligible for reunification, for reasons ranging from parents now in the custody of other criminal justice agencies to a parent who is being treated for a communicable disease, and one who lives in a home with another adult who has a criminal background.

On June 26, Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, set the deadlines of Tuesday to reunite children under 5 with their families and July 26 for the rest of the children.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, whose organization filed the lawsuit that forced the administration's hand, said he was "both thrilled and disappointed" with the government's work on the deadline.

That leaves the cases of children such as 1-year-old Johan, who appeared in immigration court last week, nursing from a bottle.

Trump was dismissive of reporters' questions about the missed deadline on Tuesday.

For context, that's almost as much as the group raised in total after its viral Facebook fundraiser, "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child", shattered records for charitable donations last month.

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But President Donald Trump has indicated he opposes releasing entire families in most cases.

Three years ago, Gee rejected a similar effort by the Obama administration. She was held in jail for a few days and then was moved to Otero County, N.M., until she arrived at Casa Vides, part of the https://annunciationhouse.org Annunciation House network in El Paso, on June 24.

Devin O'Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department disagreed with Gee's Monday ruling and continued to review it.

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

Some attorneys and advocates prepared for Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) reunions with little information.

Still, at a court hearing on Monday, the federal judge who set the deadline for reunifications said he was "very encouraged" thus far.

Abril Valdez of the ACLU of MI said the government was "vague" on the time and place of the reunifications that could come on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) for two Honduran men he represents. That judge also denied a request to suspend requirements that immigrant children be held only in facilities that meet state child welfare licensing regulations.

"This is real progress and I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow and we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not, and a time frame in place", he said.

On Tuesday, the nonprofit group - which offers free and low-priced legal aid to immigrant and refugee families - announced that it would be offering $20 million to pay off bail bonds for over 2,000 mothers now detained by the US government.

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