Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

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

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

But they say they have to do cheek swabs of the children and the parents to do DNA tests to establish parentage.

A United States judge on Monday gave the government more time to reunite migrant children aged five or younger with their parents separated as a effect of a "zero tolerance" policy, U.S. media reported.

Amid enormous backlash and global outcry, Trump reversed course on 20 June and said families should remain together until the parents' immigration proceedings are complete, a process that can take months.

Earlier this year, the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services - the agencies responsible for detaining families at the border and housing children who have been separated from their families, respectively - announced a new partnership in which potential sponsors to take children out of HHS custody would be fingerprinted, as would everyone in the sponsor's household. The other boy, a Honduran, would remain with a foster family while the father remained in government custody, although it was not clear to her why.

Under the "zero-tolerance", policy, while parents entering the U.S. illegally were held for prosecution, children were placed in Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) facilities across the country. Afterwards, the ACLU expanded its suit on behalf of the other parents and children the government planned to imminently separate.

"Tell people not to come to our country illegally", he said.

At the hearing in San Diego, Judge Dana Sabraw gave the authorities extra time to determine which children will be back with their parents, as government lawyer Sarah Fabian said 54 of the youngsters could be returned to their parents by the Tuesday deadline, the U.S. media reports said. The 30-day deadline is up July 26.

The judge acknowledged that more time may be justified only in specific cases, but initially left the Tuesday deadline intact for children under age 5, along with a July 26 deadline to reunite all children age 5 and above with their parents.

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

In ordering an end to the separation of families, the president said they should instead be detained together.

Three years ago, Gee rejected a similar effort by the Obama administration. She was held in jail for a few days and then was moved to Otero County, N.M., until she arrived at Casa Vides, part of the Annunciation House network in El Paso, on June 24.

Devin O'Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department disagreed with Gee's Monday ruling and continued to review it.

Some attorneys and advocates prepared for Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) reunions with little information.

Lee Gelernt is happy that some young children will be reunited with their families by a court-ordered deadline on Tuesday. The ACLU identified him as a 3-year-old boy.

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.

Some parents now ineligible for reunification could be eligible later, including one in ICE custody who is being treated for a communicable disease and 10 in criminal custody with either the U.S. Marshals Service or state or county law enforcement.

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

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