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10 July 2018, 05:43 | Devin Moran
Less Than Half of The Separated Immigrant Toddlers Will be Reunited By Tomorrow's Deadline
Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued an order to the Trump Administration to reunite the thousands of immigrant children separated from their parents.
The infant is one of hundreds of children who have yet to be reunited with their parents, with many separated from their families under the Trump administration's recently rescinded "zero tolerance" family separation policy.
But The New York Times reported late last week that, under pressure to reunite the families, authorities were struggling to connect them after records linking children to their parents disappeared and in some cases were destroyed, although not as part of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate. On Thursday, the government told the court it would likely need more time because it was still conducting DNA tests to match parents and children and conducting screenings to make sure it was safe to release the kids.
The ACLU says they will not be seeking sanctions for the government not meeting the deadline, telling ABC News in a statement, "At this point, we think the most constructive way forward is that the Court continue to stay hands-on and keep the government moving forward". She said Monday that they may have been incorrectly marked as deported.
Still, despite the frustrations and delays, Sabraw sounded a positive note, suggesting that he would be inclined to extend the July 10 deadline given the work that Fabian presented Monday. Some of the children were brought to the USA by someone who is not their biological parent, for example, while others have parents with serious criminal records.
Six aren't covered by the order - three due to their parents' criminal records and three because the accompanying adult turned out not to be a parent.
A person familiar with the reunification plan said managers at the sites where younger children are being housed have been instructed that they are to put the children in vans on Tuesday and take them to locations that are as yet unknown to them.
Trump's family-separation policy ignited an outcry from Pope Francis and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, among others.
So far, two children under 5 years old have been returned to their families.
He also questioned if the government's list of children under the age of 5 was accurate. The government has said only 3 of the children had accompanying adults that were found to not be their parents.
A number of children can not be released to their parents, either because the parents were released from custody into the United States or deported or because the parents are serving criminal sentences.
The other parents have either been deported, failed a criminal background check, were unable to prove they were the parent or had been released and immigration agents had been unable to contact them, said Fabian. The numbers were revealed during a court hearing between the government and the American Civil Liberties Union, which secured Sabraw's preliminary injunction requiring family reunification last month.
"ICE will assume custody and then release the parent and child together", she said.
Four children were identified for release to a sponsor other than their mother or father, but the government and ACLU are working to determine whether the parent wants them to be reunited instead, the government attorney said. The 30-day deadline is up July 26.
Judge Sabraw said that that information should be shareable with trusted groups under the protective order he had already approved.
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