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Less than half the migrant children under 5 will be reunited with their families by court deadline, ACLU says

The Trump administration turned over a list of 102 names of children under 5 who are being held in detention centers separate from their parents.

by Christianna Silva
Jul 9 2018, 2:41pm

Fewer than half of the migrant families who were promised reunification will actually be brought together before the deadline Tuesday, according to the ACLU.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Sunday night that it doesn’t expect the Trump administration to come anywhere close to their goal of connecting more than 100 children under 5 with their parents by the court-ordered July 10 deadline.

This prediction came after the Trump administration turned over a list of 102 names of immigrant children under 5 years old who have been separated from their parents as a result of President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. The policy, implemented in late April, resulted in children being separated from their parents and placed in the custody of the Health and Human Services Department, while the parents are criminally prosecuted. While the administration has reportedly stopped separating families at the border, as many as 3,000 migrant families were already separated before the decision to halt separations was issued, in late June.

Read: The Trump administration says it cannot reunite migrant families by court-imposed deadline

Last week, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw for more time to connect the families, but the judge refused to give them an extension, the Associated Press reported. The Trump administration argued that using DNA testing to match children with their parents takes time, and asked for the Judge to do away with deadlines altogether.

“The government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunification,” the lawyers wrote in legal filings. “At the same time, however, the government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of the child.”

Judge Sabraw said he would consider giving extensions on an individual basis, and another hearing is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. EST, when the judge will make any such decisions.

Read: Immigrant parents are agreeing to be deported just to see their kids again

The ACLU said in a statement that the administration initially provided “incomplete information” on Saturday, which was their deadline to hand over the names, but revised the list on Sunday to include all the information promised.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parents,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a news release. “These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain.”

Cover image: A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center after recently crossing the U.S., Mexico border with his father on June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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