Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite migrant families

Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite migrant families

Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite migrant families

Necessary steps in resolving the fate of thousands of children being held captive by the USA will be delayed at least another couple of days because a government attorney has dog-sitting responsibilities out of state and can't attend a weekend court status conference.

But more than 45 young children will remain in government custody away from family, including nine children whose parent was already deported, nine whose parent was released into the USA and 12 whose parent is in criminal custody.

On June 20, the Department of Health and Human Services said there were 2,053 children from separated families in its care.

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. "You've taken a child from the parent". Some of the children were brought to the U.S. by someone who is not their biological parent, for example, while others have parents with serious criminal records.

The motion also asked for clarification on the class of unauthorized immigrants that Sabraw's order applies to, including whether it includes parents who have already been deported.

Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and other Democrats on the panel requested the information on June 17, but say they've received no response.

Azar said Thursday that federal employees are now manually reviewing documents for each of the 11,800 individual immigrant children in HHS custody to see if anything in their files indicate they arrived at the border with their parents.

Friday's hearing captured the frustrations over the Trump administration's inability to get a handle on the number of parents separated from their children in recent months after implementation of President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy at the border. "The children, some as young as 2 months old, can not possibly give permission for this", she added.

The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who has been separated from her son since an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border. The mothers have since been reunited with their children.

Sabraw, the judge, noted that the act was intended for a different situation, but also said the government raised an important point. "It's outrageous. The government has a choice here and that choice is to release people on bond and then reunification could happen immediately". DHS has located parents of the youngest children and moved them to detention centers closer to their kids so they can be reunited quickly after the refugee agency releases them.

But the process has been complicated because the judge's ruling applied not only to children taken from their parents under the "zero-tolerance" border policy, but those separated for other reasons, several officials said.

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

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