Judge Extends Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Children


Dana Sabraw, a federal judge in California, gave the administration until Tuesday to reunite children under five years old, and until July 26 to reunify older children.

In every one of those cases the government will then immediately release the illegal immigrant families out into the communities, Ms.

Fabian didn't say why they were being released, but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has little space to hold families.

They are among more than 2,300 children split up from their families as a effect of the "zero tolerance" practice that saw their parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, even if they did so to seek asylum.

"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.

Sarah Fabian, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, said 54 children younger than 5 would be reunited with parents by the end of Tuesday, and the number could increase depending on background checks.

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.

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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. The families will be released after they are reunited.

More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by United States immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry and said families should remain together. He said that he was pleased with the efforts being made to reunite families, even if it proves impossible for some to be done by the deadline, suggesting it is unlikely the government will be accused of violating the court order. The ACLU and government are now working together to reunite the families. "And that child may be separated from you, as required by law".

"The systems that are in place are absolutely not equipped to deal with this", Emily Kephart of the nonprofit Kids in Need of Defense told NPR's Nurith Aizenman last month. Several parents have already been deported, while authorities disqualified others due to criminal records. In the courtroom, they expressed openness to collaborating on several issues, including searching for parents who have been removed from the USA and double-checking the criminal records. The parents for nine children have been deported and haven't been found.

The judge directed the government to file a detailed accounting of the reunification process and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday at 11 a.m. PDT (1800 GMT).

Gelernt said the ACLU was concerned that parents would be put on the street without any money in an unfamiliar city. The administration cited difficulties locating dozens of the youngest children's parents, including at least 19 who had already undergone deportation proceedings.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt acknowledged the government's progress on family reunification, but said that they should be moving more quickly to comply with the deadline. But the government has worked to keep the locations of these facilities secret under a federal protective order, citing without evidence concerns about "smugglers and traffickers" targeting the children. But as government employees would soon realize, they had their work cut out for them.