Feds on track to reunite 54 of 102 illegal immigrant families

Trump admin releases names of children under 5 separated at border

The practice of separating families has been part of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy, which refers anyone detained at the border for prosecution, including those seeking asylum in the United States.

Now the Trump administration has several options.

Meanwhile, the administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite thousands of older children who were also separated from their families at the border in the past few months.

But U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, siding with the American Civil Liberties Union, said DNA testing needed to be done only when parentage couldn't be proven through birth certificates or other ways, or when the lack of a DNA test would prolong family separation.

On Tuesday, with the court-mandated deadline looming, the government responded.

Under-5 children who will remain separated for now include parents have already been released into the USA, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.

Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying. Those "impediments" included deportation of a parent or "safety and suitability screenings" that were ongoing.

Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, said in court that the government had taken "significant steps" to reunite families but should be moving more quickly.

Another five children may have to wait for reunification because of immigration issues with their parents, he said. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. The Trump administration was working on final background checks for another five children ahead of Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) deadline.

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Six aren't covered by the order - three due to their parents' criminal records and three because the accompanying adult turned out not to be a parent. The ACLU sued on her behalf and expanded its lawsuit to broadly include parents separated from their children.

Nevertheless, the government, in its Tuesday "Joint Status Report" notes that in at least 14 of the 102 children's cases, they will not be "reuniting" them with parents because the adults in question are either not actually their parents, have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape and murder, or have been credibly accused of child abuse.

Government attorneys told a San Diego judge slightly over half of the children 54 of 102 represented by the ACLU and in Department of Health and Human Services custody will be reunited with their parents in ICE custody.

Eight have parents who are in federal criminal custody.

The Justice Department has asked for more time to reunite parents - or to be excused from reuniting those who are deemed unfit - but Sabraw did not rule on that request Monday. "They certainly haven't reunited all the kids and parents who are noncriminals and don't fall out of the class".

Sabraw also said fingerprinting other adults in the household shouldn't be required and that legal orientation training could occur after reunification, not before, as the government wanted. "If those [parents] submitted birth certificates...[we] suggest those kids be released".

On June 26, Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, set a Tuesday deadline for reuniting children under 5 with their families and a July 26 deadline for reunification of about 3,000 children over age 5. The court would reconvene on Friday to establish whether administration officials had carried out that order. They don't have to prove they will be a good sponsor.

After receiving a record-setting influx of cash from citizens concerned about the horror of family separation along the border in June, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services is ready to put its money where its mouth is.

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