Trump administration says it needs more time to reunite migrant families
10 July 2018, 12:05 | Isaac Mcdaniel
DNA tests ordered to reunite separated migrant families
The Trump administration is asking a judge for more time to reunite families who cross the border illegally then seek asylum, saying in court documents that officials are still struggling to match some children with parents arrested at the border.
Health and Human Services also claimed in the court documents that it "knows the names and locations of all children who are in (Office of Refugee Resettlement) care and custody at all times because ORR maintains that data in its online case management portal", but says the portal was not created to include certain details regarding the parents which Department of Homeland Security may hold or the parent may have.
But more than 45 young children will remain in government custody away from family, including nine children whose parent was already deported, nine whose parent was released into the US and 12 whose parent is in criminal custody.
He said the ACLU instead wanted a detailed explanation of when all families will be reunited.
US officials have reunited around 83 children with their parents so far. It would, however, be considered by many a constitutional crisis, and those families suing the government would appear to have quite an interesting case. Pacific Time on Tuesday to hear the Trump administration's final list of "groups of parents that will fall into category where it is impossible to reunite by tomorrow".
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Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian told US District Judge Dana Sabraw that the Trump administration has had difficulty reuniting children with their parents when the parents are outside government custody. Some parents of children under 5 were already deported, presenting an extra challenge for reunification. An executive order from the White House curbed the practice of child separation, but did nothing to address the children who had already been abducted. But since June 26, they've refused to specify how many kids from separated families remain in custody.
According to a CNBC report, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday that the U.S. government will use DNA tests to speed up the process of reuniting those children with their families.
Six of the 102 children are not eligible for reunification because they have a parent with a criminal history or were separated from someone who is not their parent.
At the hearing Friday afternoon, Fabian argued the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act sets out requirements officials have to follow when they release children into someone's custody.
Parents of 19 of the 101 detained children under age 5 have been deported, a lawyer for the Justice Department reported Friday, though the government has said it was taking precautions not to deport parents whose children are still in custody.
"I am very encouraged about the progress", Sabraw said on Monday, according to the newspaper.
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