Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

The Trump Presidency: Migrant children to be reunited with families

The Trump Presidency: Migrant children to be reunited with families

The US administration will not meet a July 10 deadline to reunite all children under the age of five with their families.

Those separations occurred between early May and June 20 when Trump signed an executive order halting them.

On Wednesday night, a government official said all children under five who were eligible for reunification would be with their parents by Thursday morning. On Monday, he said the total of kids under five that needed to be returned was just over 100. According to official records, there are at least 84 children under 5 years old that were separated from parents. "Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment", Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Atty. Following Thursday's announcement, the administration faces another deadline July 26 to reunite the remainder of the more than 2,000 children who remain separated from their families.

"Well I have a solution, tell people to not come to our country illegally".

"If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families", said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the civil rights group.

"That is going to be a significant undertaking", U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline.

Many other children who should be reunited with their families are still in detention or foster homes as their parents can't afford the often more than $1,000 plane tickets, either to other parts of the USA or back to their home countries.

Pressed on whether his "solution" was to punish children for being brought to the United States illegally by adults, Trump retreated to more general comments.

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"Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her", said Rep. Strzok said the messages were in response to Trump's attacks on the family of a fallen Muslim war hero .

They pointed to seven cases where people claiming to be parents were found to be lying based on DNA testing. Officials said 11 adults had serious criminal histories, including child cruelty, murder or human smuggling.

In a court hearing later on Tuesday, the administration gave additional details on the 51 children eligible for reunification, who had not yet been united with their families. One parent was suspected of child abuse; another was living in a household with another adult who had an outstanding warrant for criminal sexual abuse of a minor.

The ACLU has said that none of the steps would have been necessary if the government had never separated the families in the first place. It buckled to intense political pressure and abandoned the policy in June. Customs and Border Patrol also stopped referring all parents from criminal prosecution, essentially returning the situation at the border to the previous status quo. The ICE official said it was because those parents had already paid smugglers and coyotes to get the child to the U.S.

One child has not been matched with a parent, Fabian said.

McConaghy also said that the US attorney has been pressing the government to reunite J.S.R. and V.F.B. with their parents before the court-ordered deadline.

Orihuela said that the government knows where both J.S.R. and V.F.B. are and knows where their parents are being held. "I am optimistic that many of these families will be reunited by tomorrow and we will have a clear understanding of who has been reunited and the reasons for not reuniting others". Children spend an average of 57 days in shelters before they're placed with a sponsor. Meanwhile, some separated children have been entered into an Obama-era foster care system, where temporary guardians described them as "shell-shocked".

The administration is facing an even more daunting court-ordered deadline to reunite about 2,000 older children with their parents by July 26. It also has asked Congress for new laws to override the court order.

Now the family detention system is at capacity - as are a network of about 100 shelters for migrant minors who traveled into the USA without parents or a guardian and who now wait anywhere from a few weeks to years to have their cases resolved in the immigration courts.

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