Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

U.S. moves to unite migrant children with parents by deadline

U.S. moves to unite migrant children with parents by deadline

These parents have, according to DHS officials, been fitted with electronic monitoring bracelets and released into the United States because they brought children with them, illegally, across the US border. Government agencies failed to track either group in a way that would allow for the children to be easily returned to the parents once the parents were released.

Fabian attributed the holdup to difficulties tracking down some parents, and to necessary background checks on those whom they've found.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears the Trump administration will miss Tuesday's deadline to reunite young children with their parents in more than half of the cases.

Dozens of immigrant children will be released from detention centres and reunited with their parents on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time).

The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who was separated from her son after an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border.

Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said the reunifications Tuesday will occur in undisclosed locations administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has custody of the detained parents.

Both sides agreed to submit a document Monday night stating their disagreements on protocol; Court will reconvene on Tuesday to determine the process for reuniting the remaining children.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parents", Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a statement sent to Newsweek. We are just asking that the parent be given back their child.

"They're working nights and weekends to comply with the judge's orders".

In the meantime, many of these children have had to face their immigration proceedings without their parents in court. "Our due diligence is protecting children", Meekins said.

A court had set Tuesday as the deadline for reunification of parents with children under 5, and July 26 for all kids taken from their parents at the border.

"For (the parents) who were deported without their children, (government officials) have not even tried to contact them or facilitate their reunification by today", ACLU lawyers wrote.

Eight have parents in federal criminal custody and are awaiting being handed over to ICE, while an additional four have parents in state or local criminal custody.

Despite the progress over the weekend, a number of questions remained Monday. Some parents are not eligible, the government said, because they have criminal records, were deemed to be unfit or, in one case, have a communicable disease. One area of disagreement is DNA testing on parents and children, with the government saying it should be the general rule and the ACLU saying it should be done only when no other evidence is available to prove parentage.

"This is real progress, I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow", he told the courtroom.

"Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours ... has taken significant steps", Gelernt said.

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