US to reunite kids under 5, migrant parents

Source:Reuters Published: 2018/7/12 23:03:44

Trump administration misses court deadline for reunification


All migrant children under the age of 5 who were separated at the US-Mexico border will have been reunited with their parents by early Thursday morning if they were eligible, a Trump administration official said in a statement on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the government over its separation policies, disputed that assertion.

"Their statement is vague at a minimum," said attorney Lee Gelernt, noting that a San Diego judge had set a deadline of Tuesday for reuniting those children. "We know they missed the deadline."

The government has said some children were not eligible for reunification because the parent was deported, had a criminal record or was otherwise unfit.

US Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego had ordered the government to reunite the children under the age of 5 by Tuesday and all separated children by July 26.

On Thursday, the government was set to give Sabraw a progress report on the younger children and whether it expects to meet the deadline for the older group.

The government has said around 2,300 children were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, which was abandoned in June after intense protests.

The ACLU's Gelernt said the government is not even close to reuniting all the children under 5 with their parents, including 12 adults who were deported without their children. He said the government has not told him how many children have been reunified with parents.

Since the government first came under pressure to ease its policy on separations weeks ago, it has shifted its estimates of the number of children it would reunite.

The latest figures released by the government were early on Tuesday, when officials said that four children under 5 had been reunited and at least 34 more would be with their parents by the end of the day.

Catholic Charities, which helped place some of the children in shelter facilities after their separation, held a news briefing in New York at which a handful of the reunited parents expressed relief after weeks of anxiety over the separations.



Posted in: AMERICAS

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