57 migrant kids under age 5 reunited with family, US Government says

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

In fact, through DNA testing, two adults who apparently thought they were parents of a child were determined not to be, he said.

A federal judge gave the government until July 10 to reunify the 102 migrant kids under the age of 5 with their families.The judge ordered all migrant kids to be reunified by July 26. In the case of those ages 5 and up-at least 2,000 minors-the Administration was given until July 26.

On Tuesday, with the court-mandated deadline looming, the government responded. "My only goal is to have them with me; to have my children and then I will rethink everything again". They claimed the adults in those cases were found to either have criminal histories, or were not the child's actual parent.

The Department of Justice reported their list in a hearing on Tuesday in which they revealed to the American Civil Liberties Union that the missing father, as well as the child, "might be" us citizens.

On Wednesday night, a government official said all children under five who were eligible for reunification would be with their parents by Thursday morning. A last-minute effort to gain more time was rejected by Dana Sabraw, the federal judge overseeing the case.

"These are firm deadlines".

It was the largest single effort to date to undo one effect of President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy - separating families who try to slip across the Mexican border into the country. But there were no instructions on how to undo the process.

Earlier in June, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back family separations, a policy his own administration implemented.

The problem was not lost on Judge Sabraw. "We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the so-called "zero tolerance" policy, and once and for all we must end family detention".

As daunting as the process appeared in court, this week's deadline concerns less than 5 percent of the children separated from their parents in recent months. That's only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order, although several are ineligible for immediate reunification due to their parents' criminal history or uncertainty surrounding parenthood status.

The Department of Justice asked Gee to alter a 1997 settlement, which provides the framework for how to handle detained immigrant children, so it could detain families together for longer periods.

"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", Chris Meekins of Health and Human Services Department said in the call. Now, those well-intentioned hurdles are being set aside for families who were separated at the border.

DOJ lawyers said in a court filing that the government has tried for twelve months to locate the parents, to no avail.

"Elimination of any one of these steps increases the margin of error that children could be harmed", he said. The samples should be destroyed in 7 days and not used for any other purposes, Sabraw ruled.

In the meantime, many of these children have had to face their immigration proceedings without their parents in court. A Honduran man killed himself in jail after officials took his son away.

Of the almost 3,000 migrant minors who were separated from their parents and placed in federal custody, the Trump administration says at least 102 are under 5 years old. It also has not had much luck in federal courtrooms. "Judges run the system and illegals and traffickers know how it works". Leon Fresco, a former senior Justice Department immigration lawyer, said putting ankle bracelets on migrants is a return to what the Trump administration itself has described as catch and release; ending its practice was a top priority of the labour union that represents Border Patrol agents and endorsed Trump's candidacy.

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