U.S. must convince judge it has reunited migrants under 5

U.S. must convince judge it has reunited migrants under 5

The Trump administration was working on final background checks for another five children ahead of Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) deadline.

Before departing the White House for Europe, Trump said, "That's the solution".

The administration said another 46 children under the age of five remain separated from their families because of safety concerns and other issues.

The government defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories and one case of credible child abuse. According to government attorneys, nine have parents who have already been deported, while an additional nine have parents that have been released from government custody in the United States.

But of the 103 children in that category, just 57 have been reunited, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said.

"Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families", the officials said.

In a response to the government's filing, the American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed the lawsuit against the administration over separated migrant families, maintained that it does not believe the government fulfilled its obligation in time.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered both sides back in court on Tuesday to give another update and for him rule on differences over protocols to follow when reuniting children.


The latest figures released by the government were early on Tuesday, when officials said that four children under 5 had been reunited and at least 34 more would be with their parents by the end of the day.

One child under age five has been detained for more than a year because the parent's location is not known, DHS said. Despite Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's assurances that the government was on track to meet the dates laid out in the ruling, subsequent court filings showed that the Trump administration was seeking to push the deadline back. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the organization would decide Thursday "what remedies to recommend to the court for the non-compliance".

He beamed while his son asked questions and played with toys when they were reunited at a federal immigration office in MI on Tuesday. In the month leading up to the executive order alone, some 2,300 children were separated from their parents and placed in "cage-like juvenile detention facilities".

Are families seeking asylum at ports of entries also separated?

Fifty-seven children were reunified with their parents as of Thursday morning, administration officials said.

Of 103 toddlers brought to the US illegally in most of May and June, 57 have been reunited with their parents. One more was added since Tuesday because the parent who had originally declined reunification "changed his mind", Immigration and Customs Enforcement official Matthew Albence said on a call with reporters. Parents were charged with the misdemeanor crime of crossing the border illegally and jailed for court hearings, while their children were sent to shelters or foster care. "We know they missed the deadline".

Twelve adults were not reunited with their children because the adults had been deported and the USA government is in the process of contacting them, the statement said. "Apply lawfully and wait your turn", the officials said.

Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy in May, although some separations happened before then. Physicians and others blasted the policy and warned about lasting psychological damage to children and parents. And the Justice Department manages the immigration courts. They said some of their parents had already been deported. Another federal judge is considering a government motion to let parents choose between staying with their children in long-term ICE detention or voluntarily giving their children to HHS while they await legal proceedings, the New York Times reported.

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