Judge Denies Trump Admin Request to Extend Reunification Deadline

Judge Denies Trump Admin Request to Extend Reunification Deadline

The Trump administration on Saturday released the names of children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, complying with a federal court order. Officials also say that they won't be able to confirm a child's parentage by the deadline if DNA testing is inconclusive.

Lee Gelernt, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer arguing the case on behalf of separated parents, said countless private lawyers and other organizations have offered up their services to help speed the reunification process.

Forcing families that have already suffered the vast trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday there were "under 3,000" children separated from their parents.

"When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our..." Sixteen children had not been matched, and it remained unclear if they crossed with their parents, she said.

Of the 101 children under 5, about half are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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By July 26, it must reunite all remaining children (those between the ages of 5 and 17). An executive order from the White House curbed the practice of child separation, but did nothing to address the children who had already been abducted.

Sabraw also blocked the administration from deporting adults without their children unless the parent "affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily declines to be reunited with the child" prior to being expelled from the country.

Of the 86 parents who have been linked, 46 of them are detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, 19 were deported, 19 were released into the United States and their whereabouts are unknown, and two of them were deemed unfit for reunification due to their criminal histories. It would, however, be considered by many a constitutional crisis, and those families suing the government would appear to have quite an interesting case.

As the ACLU and the Trump administration work together over the course of Monday and Tuesday to locate and reunite as many families as possible before the court's original Tuesday deadline, Gelernt demanded permission from the court to allow immigrant advocates and faith-based groups to know the location of these reunions. Yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar complained of the rush to review the cases of the nearly 3,000 child detainees to meet the court-imposed deadline.

But the reunification efforts have been complicated by the fact that government records assigning "family identification numbers" to immigrant families were reportedly deleted. "The children, some as young as 2 months old, can not possibly give permission for this", she added. "At the same time, however, the Government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child". Many children were sent to facilities thousands of miles away from their parents, and some are too young or scared to provide accurate information about their parents or their journey.

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