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

Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the US-Mexico border, at a news conference in July in NY.

In trying to meet the first deadline, the government began with a list of 102 children potentially eligible to be reunited and whittled that to 75 through screening that included DNA testing done by swabbing the inside of the cheek.

'Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children, ' said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official helping to direct the process. One parent was suspected of child abuse; another was living in a household with another adult who had an outstanding warrant for criminal sexual abuse of a minor.

Karen Tumlin, director of legal strategy at the National Immigration Law Center, said she interpreted Judge Dolly Gee's order on Monday as a rejection of large-scale family detention. Once the children are handed over to their custody, ICE will release the families together. The ACLU would like a faster reunification process while the US government claims they are bound by strict protocols, such as a plan to DNA test every child and parent before a reunification can occur. She said doubted that the judge would approve of the administration enacting it by convincing parents to sign away their children's right to release.

The child 'cannot be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year, ' the Justice Department said, adding that 'records show the parent and child might be USA citizens'.

In separating families, Trump sought to advance a hard-line immigration policy that past administrations had considered and quickly abandoned as inhumane.

Staff members at a nonprofit organization that has been housing numerous youngest children 'made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye, ' Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said.

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So the Justice Department asked a federal judge to amend a 1997 ruling that children could not be held for more than 20 days while their parents are in court proceedings.

"The goal of the [Trafficking Victims Protection Act ] is to promote the best interests of the child and to reunite families", the ACLU had argued. "Tell people not to come to our country illegally", he said.

"They will be assessed for reunification after they are released from criminal custody, provided that Defendants are made aware of that release", lawyers added. It noted that 20 of those parents were already deported, even though their children remain in USA government custody.

As of Monday night, the Department of Justice (DoJ) had only managed to reunite families with two of 102 migrant children under five who were taken at the southern border.

On Tuesday morning, staff members at a nonprofit organization that has been housing numerous youngest children "made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye", Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said.

Protesters in New York City marched last month in support of the families separated at U.S. -Mexico border. The ACLU contends that there may be more separated children that the government has not counted.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the parents in a class-action lawsuit, said US officials "have not even tried" to return 12 children to parents who were deported, and said officials should have more quickly found eight parents who have been released in the United States. At least nine will not be reunited by the deadline because their parents were deported without them. "I know very very little about this case", she said.

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