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Government Won’t Reunite All Under-5 Children With Parents Before Tuesday Deadline

Government Won’t Reunite All Under-5 Children With Parents Before Tuesday Deadline

Parents in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody "for the most part" are being taken to locations near their children and the families will be released, Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said in court.

U.S. officials have failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of immigrant children with their families after they were forcibly separated at the southern border.

Those 57 children represent more than half of 103 "tender age" juveniles who had been identified as separated from their parents in a court case the American Civil Liberties Union filed against the government.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a joint statement that the 57 reunifications show that the government is in full compliance with Sabraw's order. He stated, "These are firm deadlines".

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the lead lawyer who argued for the preliminary injunction, said in a July 8 press release that the request for more time was unacceptable given the levels of trauma the children have already been subjected to. Physicians and others blasted the policy and warned about lasting psychological damage to children and parents.

In their update on the reunification efforts, the three cabinet secretaries defended the Trump administration's handling of the family separations.

The government is unaware of the location of the parent of one child, who according to a court filing may be a USA citizen ― meaning he or she should not be in custody as a purported unauthorized immigrant. They will be set free in the U.S. pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years. Only now, they'll do it as a unit rather than separately.

Sabraw has set a final deadline for the government to reunite the 2,000 children who remain in custody with their parents: July 26.

Earlier in June, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back family separations, a policy his own administration implemented.

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. The U.S. government is in the process of contacting the 12 adults who were deported and working with foreign consulates in an effort to return their children to them, the officials said.

Protesters in New York City marched last month in support of the families separated at U.S. -Mexico border. A federal consent decree requires the government to release children from family detention facilities within 20 days. The ACLU said the government hasn't been able to explain why that is taking so long.

HHS said 46 other children were not eligible for reunification. "This is real progress, and I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow, and then we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not, and what time-frame will be in place". He told reporters on the White House's south lawn, "Well I have a solution". But the Trump administration has similarly struggled with deterring waves of migrants from Central and South America - and, once they enter the country, processing them through the legal system humanely. Two others' status could change: One adult had a falsified birth certificate and whether they are the true parent is still being determined, and another is being treated for a disease, according to the government.

"Defendants seek to light a match to the Flores agreement and ask this court to upend the parties' agreement by judicial fiat", Gee, who was appointed by Obama, wrote in her order. "It is the government's intention to have all 3,000 children through that process by July 26". Thirty children will not be reunited by Tuesday, for a range of reasons.

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