Monday, 23 July, 2018

US vows to reunite young migrant children and parents

AUSTIN TX- JUNE 30 A demonstrator uses baby clothes to spell out the word Less Than Half of The Separated Immigrant Toddlers Will be Reunited By Tomorrow's Deadline
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 15:49

"They will be assessed for reunification after they are released from criminal custody, provided that Defendants are made aware of that release", lawyers added. The father and son cried throughout the reunification meeting as he pet his son's hair. Lawyers said the fathers were too distraught to speak to the news media.

They were separated from their parents upon arrival from Mexico, under President Donald Trump's so-called zero tolerance immigration policy. Fabian did not disclose where the reunions would take place. The children were "absolutely thrilled to be with their parents again". "It's all confusing to them why there's so many people here and why there's so many strangers here, but they know that they're safe", Valdes said outside the ICE offices.

The Trump administration will do that for the dozens of parents being reunited with children under age 5 in accordance with a court order this week, government officials said.

In response, on June 20, Trump issued an executive order that said migrant children could no longer be separated from their adult relatives.

Speaking to reporters just before his flight to Europe for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, Trump blamed his administration's failure to meet the court's deadline on the detained families themselves, saying the "solution" to the crisis he created is "don't come to our country illegally".

Immigrant children are led by staff in single file between tents at a detention facility next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 18, 2018.

Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.

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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.

Sabraw indicated more time would be allowed only in specific cases where the government showed good reasons for a delay.

"These are firm deadlines. They're not aspirational goals". And for several weeks, administration officials have been under a court-ordered deadline: Reunite those young children with their parents, and do it quickly.

Among the other remaining question marks is whether authorities can streamline their vetting process for the migrant parents - which ACLU attorneys have described as needlessly cumbersome - and whether the government can pass along the locations migrant families will be released from custody, so that charity groups can more quickly offer them support. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said in court on Tuesday that he wished the 1997 Flores settlement went so far as to require the release of parents with their children, but he agreed with the government attorney that it does not. Fabian explained that of the 102 children under 5 who have been identified, only 54 of them-possibly 59-would be reunited with their families on time. At least nine will not be reunited by the deadline because their parents were deported without them.

One immigration advocate told Reuters she was still awaiting details on when two under-five children would be back with their parents.

Last December, the Trump administration quietly reversed an Obama-era directive that prevented Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from detaining pregnant women except in extreme cases, altering the policy to prevent holding only women in their third trimester.

All parties are expected to be back in court on Monday at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) in San Diego, where next steps will be discussed, the ACLU said. The judge refused to modify that.

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