Judge Extends Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Children

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the lead lawyer who argued for the preliminary injunction, said in a July 8 press release that the request for more time was unacceptable given the levels of trauma the children have already been subjected to.

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In immigration news, the Trump administration will not meet today's deadline to reunite all migrant children under the age of 5 whom immigration officials took from their parents at the border and then sent to jails and detention centers across the country.

There are as many as 2,900 more children five or older who remain in federal custody awaiting a July 26 reunification deadline, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday. That group must be reunited by Tuesday under a deadline Sabraw set two weeks ago, when he first ordered the government to put the families back together. On Monday, Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian told a federal court in San Diego that at least 54 children - and as many as 59 - will be reunited with their families in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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"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", Chris Meekins of Health and Human Services Department said in the call.

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. An additional 20 children have purported parents with whom they can not be reunited because those adults have already been either removed from the United States or released into the country, which removes DHS and HHS's ability to force them to come get the children they claim are theirs.

Fabian attributed the holdup to difficulties tracking down some parents, and to necessary background checks on those whom they've found.

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 worldwide outcry and said families should remain together.

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"There's no question that the parties are meeting and conferring", she said. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days. We are just asking that the parent be given back their child. "There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months".

"They're working nights and weekends to comply with the judge's orders".

That discrepancy in numbers is one of several disagreements both sides of the suit, the Justice Department and the ACLU, pledged to discuss later Monday. One area of disagreement is DNA testing on parents and children, with the government saying it should be the general rule and the ACLU saying it should be done only when no other evidence is available to prove parentage.

"Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours ... has taken significant steps", Gelernt said. "And so the government says the tension is between a fast release and a safe release".

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The group was found nine days later in a cramped chamber 2.5 miles inside the cave system by two British volunteer rescue divers . Four fellow teammates and their coach , Ekaphol Chantawong, remain inside, with hopes that they will be rescued on Tuesday.


I don't anticipate them dragging on.

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