Judge says U.S. must reunite migrant families or face penalties




  • In US
  • 2018-07-10 21:01:18Z
  • By By Marty Graham

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The U.S. government must reunite 63 children under the age of five who were separated by immigration officials after crossing into the United States from Mexico as soon as Tuesday or face penalties, a federal judge said.

U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego told government attorneys he was sticking with deadlines he set last month, when he ordered children under five to be reunited Tuesday and another 2,000 to be back with their parents by July 26.

"These are firm deadlines. They are not aspirational goals," said the judge.

The children were taken from their parents under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which called for the prosecution and detention of adult immigrants crossing the border without authorization.

Sabraw also asked the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit that led to Sabraw's June order, to file papers on Thursday suggesting remedies if the government had not reunified the 63 children by Tuesday "or within immediate proximity of today."

The judge did not suggest what penalties could be applied.

"The court has a range of options from significant fines to other types of relief," said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

After public outcry and a court challenge, Trump stopped separating families last month.

The government had asked Sabraw to extend the deadlines because it needed time to test DNA to confirm family relationships, run background checks, locate parents who were released from custody and review parental fitness.

In court filings, the ACLU has said the government is asking for needless provisions for reuniting families that would not happen if the families had not been separated in the first place.

Sabraw's order included exceptions that might threaten the safety of the child. As a result, the number of children eligible to be reunited has shifted in recent days as the government has discovered some individuals were not parents as they claimed or had criminal records.

FLEEING VIOLENCE

Many of the separated children are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with diplomats from those countries in Guatemala on Tuesday to discuss U.S. immigration policies.

Some lawyers representing the separated children, who have been scattered into foster systems across the country, said the government was not telling them what would happen to their young clients.

The Legal Aid Society in New York said it is representing at least two separated children under 5 years old that meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday.

One boy, from El Salvador, was due to be released to his mother, according to Beth Krause, the supervising attorney of Legal Aid's Immigrant Youth Project.

"I have no details about where, when, under what conditions," she wrote in an email on Tuesday morning. The other boy, a Honduran, would remain with a foster family while the father remained in government custody, although it was not clear to her why.

"I know very very little about this case," she said. "It's all very frustrating."

Judge Sabraw issued a protective order shielding children's names and some reunification details from disclosure.

Trump was dismissive of reporters' questions about the missed deadline on Tuesday.

"Tell people not to come to our country illegally," he said. "That's the solution."

Some of the separated families arrived at U.S. ports of entry seeking asylum, which is not illegal.

(Additional reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City, Tom Hals in Wilmington., Del. and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Sue Horton and Alistair Bell)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Cruz, O
Cruz, O'Rourke trade attacks during testy 1st Texas debate

A Texas Senate race that long looked like a cakewalk for the conservative incumbent now appears to be anything but that.

Rod Rosenstein Suggested Recording Trump And Invoking 25th Amendment: Reports
Rod Rosenstein Suggested Recording Trump And Invoking 25th Amendment: Reports

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly suggested secretly recording Trump last year, The New York Times reports.

Trump says Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh is
Trump says Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh is 'under assault'
  • US
  • 2018-09-21 14:53:52Z

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was "under assault" by radical leftist politicians, appearing to grow impatient with the delay of his appointee's confirmation proceedings. "Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable

Kavanaugh
Kavanaugh's accuser says she would testify under right terms

WASHINGTON (AP) - Christine Blasey Ford may testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after all, her attorney said, breathing new life into the prospect of a dramatic Senate showdown next week over Ford's accusation that he assaulted her when they were in high school.

Trump urges Republicans to
Trump urges Republicans to 'get tough' on border wall spending
  • US
  • 2018-09-20 13:32:52Z

U.S. President Donald Trump pressed fellow Republicans in Congress on Thursday to "get tough" and push to fund his proposed border wall in the current spending bill, raising the specter of a government shutdown when funding lapses later this month. In a post on Twitter, Trump called the bill "ridiculous" for not including funds for a planned wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and blamed Democrats for blocking it in the plan passed by the Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday. The Senate-approved massive spending package included a provision to fund the federal government through Dec. 7 in an effort to avoid a government shutdown when funding ends Sept. 30.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.