Judge warns Trump administration to stick to deadline on family reunification

Judge warns Trump administration to stick to deadline on family reunification

Judge warns Trump administration to stick to deadline on family reunification

A USA judge on Monday gave the government more time to reunite migrant children aged five or younger with their parents separated as a outcome of a "zero tolerance" policy, U.S. media reported. Thirty-four have been found to be the actual parents and passed criminal background safety measures and are expected to be placed with children Tuesday, the other 17 are at various stages of completing those checks.

The Trump administration reunited only four children under age 5 with the parents it separated them from at the border before Tuesday and expects to rejoin at least 34 others by the end of the day, according to documents filed in court.

In this June 25 photo, a mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child while surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border, near McAllen, Texas.

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in May that the zero tolerance policy was in full effect.

Numerous separated children are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with diplomats from those countries in Guatemala on Tuesday to discuss U.S. immigration policies.

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the almost 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

With Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for the Trump administration to reunify children under 5 with their parents just hours away, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said the government is likely to fail to meet its target. They will be set free in the USA pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years.

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Last Friday, the Trump administration complained that the deadline imposed by a federal judge was too "extreme" and could not be met.

Devin O'Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department disagreed with Gee's Monday ruling and continued to review it. Reporters on the ground have reported that there seemed to be no plan to track where different parts of families were being sent so that they could eventually be reunited. But the government does not have the room: Immigration and Customs Enforcement has three family detention centers with space for 3,000 people, and they are already at or near capacity, though the Trump administration is trying to line up space at military bases.

The move comes in advance of a Monday hearing on whether to extend the Tuesday deadline for reuniting the children with their families. Unaccompanied children, some as young as 1 year old, have been kept in large chain link cages, and in some cases, forced to represent themselves in court.

The ACLU, however, said it believes as many as 10 more children might not be on the government's list, and said it would provide those names to the government to investigate. Their three-year-old sons were in temporary foster care in Grand Rapids while they were in a jail in Battle Creek.

Here's a look at some of the situations that families might face even after being reunited.

Sabraw had ordered the government to return all children age 4 and younger to their parents by Tuesday. He told the two sides to discuss possible exceptions and report to him Monday. There is still one child that the government has no parental information on. "They have to determine the fitness of the parents to be able to release the kids to them", John noted.

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