U.S. Seeking to Delay Reuniting Immigrant Kids With Parents

U.S. Seeking to Delay Reuniting Immigrant Kids With Parents

Kerry Wise
July 10, 2018

The US government has only managed to reunite two of 102 migrant children under the age of five with their families after they were separated at the southern border, and has admitted it will not be able to meet a federal district judge's deadline for them all to be reunited by Tuesday. Associated Press/Jacquelyn Martin The lack of those identification numbers became a major issue after the children were placed in the custody of the Health and Human Services department and flown to shelters across the country.

The judge in that case has ordered that children under age 5 be reunited with their parents by Tuesday, and that all minors separated from their parents be reunited by July 26.

Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said so far, 86 parents have been matched to 83 children younger than 5. Today marks the deadline for the communication part of the order. The ACLU and government are now working together to reunite the families. As for the rest, she claimed, three were brought by someone who is not their biological parent, three have parents with serious criminal records that bar reunification, five have parents with something on their record that requires further investigation, 12 have parents either in local or federal criminal detention who must serve time before being transferred to ICE, 18 have parents who were lost by the administration after their deportation or release into the USA, and four have been approved for release to a non-parent sponsor. He said the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for detaining and caring for undocumented immigrant children apprehended by authorities, is not sure precisely how many kids came into its care as a result of the Border Patrol taking them from their families.

The DNA verification has been expedited to comply with the court's timeline, although the government worries that some cases could prove to be more complex and might not be verified by the imposed deadline. The process takes about a week, he said in the declaration, though it can take longer to complete verification.

AP said DistrictCourt Judge Dana Sabraw set another hearing for Monday in San Diego.

Parents already released into the USA should be reunited with their children within 48 hours of the government contacting them, or within a week for parents already deported, he suggested.

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Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar will be visiting the district tomorrow to review the situation, reported The Hindu . The victims belonged to a nomadic community and had been passing through the village, police said .

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in May that the zero tolerance policy was in full effect, even if it meant splitting families.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two named plaintiffs - a woman referred to as Ms. L. who asked for asylum at a port of entry and a woman who crossed the border illegally - both of whom were separated from their children. His mother, Olivia Caceres, sought asylum weeks later and - after enduring one bureaucratic hurdle after another, including a DNA test - was reunited with her son almost three months after he was taken away.

In court records, the agencies said they were not prepared to track the separated parents and children, which delayed their efforts to reunite them.

About 46 parents are in immigration custody, 19 were deported and 19 were released.

ICE is attempting to match many more parents to older children, who the judge said must be reunited within 30 days.