Court imposed deadline to reunite immigrant families rapidly approaching

Court imposed deadline to reunite immigrant families rapidly approaching

Court imposed deadline to reunite immigrant families rapidly approaching

The federal government, under orders from a San Diego federal judge to reunite families that have been separated at the border, says it might need more time.

Parties were back in court Friday for the first of three deadlines set late last month by Judge Dana Sabraw in the U.S. District Court for Southern California - he ruled then that all migrant parents must have access to speak with their separated children by phone within 10 days. He said the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for detaining and caring for undocumented immigrant children apprehended by authorities, is not sure precisely how many kids came into its care as a result of the Border Patrol taking them from their families.

In the court filing, the Justice Department sought clarification on whether they have to reunite migrant kids with parents who were already deported and appeared to argue that would be too hard and time consuming.

The filing contained a description of steps undertaken by Health and Human Services to comply with the court order including deploying 115 additional personnel to the field, and contracting with 100 reunification managers who are deploying Friday and Saturday. One of the complications is that officials are conducting DNA tests on children to ensure they are reunited with their own parents. His mother, Olivia Caceres, sought asylum weeks later and - after enduring one bureaucratic hurdle after another, including a DNA test - was reunited with her son almost three months after he was taken away.

Though the government has not revealed how many parents have been deported while their children remain in custody in the USA, an analysis of federal data by Syracuse University researchers estimates that number to be in the hundreds.

Critics have found no sympathy for the HHS's request for an extension to solve the crisis the agency itself created, with many arguing that thousands of parents and children have already gone far too long without seeing one another, at the hands of the nation where many of them hoped to be given asylum after fleeing violence and unrest in their home countries.

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The administration has matched 86 parents to 83 children and 16 are not yet matched, Fabian said. The agency is now reviewing the cases of all 11,800 children in its custody to determine whether they were separated from caregivers.

All parents in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and who are known to have children aged below 5, had phone contact with them, according to a court filing by Robert Guadian, an ICE official. It took a court order from Judge Sabraw to force the government to begin reuniting children with their parents. Older minors must be reunified with their parents by July 26.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to address questions seeking clarity on the administration's desired timeline to reunite families.

The Congolese woman, identified in court documents as Mrs. L, claimed asylum on November 1, 2017, and four days later was separated from her daughter. He also ordered the government to provide for communications between detained caregivers and their children and not to deport adults without their kids.

The Trump administration has been scrambling to streamline the process of reuniting migrant children and their families, as the human toll of President Donald Trump's immigration policy becomes apparent and the political pressure grows to quickly address it.

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