ACLU calls for Trump officials to hand over info on immigrant children
13 July, 2018, 11:49 | Author: Emmett Rice
Additionally, officials said gave no indication of whether they would meet a July 26 deadline to reunite all remaining migrant children who had been separated from their parents.
As the US government missed a court-ordered deadline to reunite the youngest children with their parents, the legal news website Law and Crimereported on a court filing that shows at least one of the children being held in detention centers is not an illegal immigrant at all.
The remaining 46 children were deemed "ineligible" due to multiple concerns over their guardians, including 11 adults with a serious criminal history like charges or convictions for murder, child cruelty, smuggling or domestic violence.
In a court filing released on Tuesday, U.S. officials admit they may have taken a child away from a U.S. citizen at the southern border.
"Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families", they added in a joint statement.
Noting that the Trump administration manufactured this disastrous situation with its inhumane policies in the first place, the ACLU vowed to keep up the pressure until all families separated by the White House's cruel policies are unified.
The US government must convince a judge on Thursday that it has complied with a court order for reuniting the youngest migrant children who were separated from their parents by US officials after they crossed the US-Mexico border.
"That is going to be a significant undertaking", U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline.
Sabraw had said earlier this week in court that he expected the government to be able to reunite at least 63 children with their parents by the end of Tuesday.
ACLU lawyers said Thursday, "If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families". Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the organization would decide Thursday "what remedies to recommend to the court for the non-compliance". Reporters on the ground have reported that there seemed to be no plan to track where different parts of families were being sent so that they could eventually be reunited.
CBP rebuked those claims, saying July 9 that family separations at ports of entries are "very rare, and it's only done under exigent circumstances in order to protect the child and to ensure the wellbeing of the child".
The separations - which also involve somewhere under 3,000 older children - have sparked worldwide outrage and considerable confusion.
According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only four kids were unified before Tuesday's deadline. Fabian explained that of the 102 children under 5 who have been identified, only 54 of them-possibly 59-would be reunited with their families on time.
In the meantime, many of these children have had to face their immigration proceedings without their parents in court.
The Justice Department has insisted that its "zero tolerance" immigration policy - which focuses on prosecuting all adults who illegally enter the United States but not necessarily detaining them - is still intact. "Apply lawfully and wait your turn", the officials said.
"Unfortunately we don't have additional info yet", Gelernt said.
The administration's shift to rely on ankle bracelets followed an order issued Monday by a federal judge in Los Angeles, rejecting the Justice Department's request to modify a long-standing legal settlement outlining how long immigrant minors may be detained.
The announcement comes two days after a court-ordered deadline to return the youngest of the children. 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.
Of the deported parents, officials said they had chosen to leave their children behind.
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