Reunification of Families Separated by Trump Disappoints Those Affected

Fourteen adults have been discarded for reunification: eight for criminal records, five because they are not real parents and one because they are being treated for a contagious disease

  • Most of the separated families come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala and arrived in the United States fleeing the violence in the so-called Central American North Triangle.

    The Guatemalan Mircy Alba Lopez is one of the few mothers who were able to meet her son, Eder Galicia, 3 years old, after four months apart. Your little one does not recognize her.

The reunification of immigrant families separated in the border with Mexico by the Government of Donald Trump has turned into a chaos.

Unable to comply with the order that a judge gave him to return his parents to the youngest children – those up to five years old – the Republican administration admitted today that he had only reunited four with his parents. Before the end of the day, I was going to regroup another 34 and another 16 can be reunited soon.

“Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no doubt that it is about protecting children,” said Chris Meenkins, a senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services, at a telephone press conference with journalists.

Of the almost 3,000 minors -the administration does not have the exact figure- who were separated from their parents after being arrested for illegally crossing the border, 102 are up to five years old. And it was these whom the administration had to meet today with their parents by court order. For those over that age, he has until June 26.

The San Diego judge who gave the deadline had to prolong it on Monday after the Justice Department said he would not be able to repay half of it because he is still conducting checks to confirm the family relationship and to ensure that parents are not criminals that will put children at risk.

Along with the 38 that the Department of Health and Social Services expected in total to reunite with their families today, there are 16 others whose parents have already passed the confirmation process and are expected to be reunited soon.

Fourteen adults have been discarded for reunification: eight for criminal records, five because they are not real parents and one because they are being treated for a contagious disease. The parents of one of the children have not yet been located and those of another 12 have already been deported, according to official figures from the Department of Homeland Security.

“These are firm deadlines, they are not aspirational goals,” Judge Dana Sabraw said at the hearing he held today with government representatives. The judge approved the use of an abbreviated procedure to confirm the kinship and the absence of criminal records of those who are still pending the authorities’ examination.

Volunteers, officials and representatives of the American Union for Civil Liberties (ACLU), one of the most important civil rights organizations in the country and which was the one that sued the administration for the separations and got the judge to order the reunification, they work all over the country trying to achieve reunification as soon as possible.

The separation of families at the border originated when the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, gave orders to criminally prosecute all undocumented immigrants arrested after crossing the border from April 19. The criminal prosecution implies the sending to a prison center and the laws prohibit having children there for more than 20 days. The children were then separated from their parents and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Social Services.

The Trump administration has baptized these actions as “zero tolerance.” Behind there is a policy to discourage the arrival of illegal immigration that led to a wave of indignation with the Trump government, which was joined by the UN and Pope Francis.

“I have a solution (for the separation of families),” the US president told reporters today before embarking on a trip to Europe. “Tell people not to come to our country illegally, that’s the solution, do not come to our country illegally, come as other people do, come legally.”

Most of the separated families come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala and arrived in the United States fleeing the violence in the so-called Central American North Triangle.

The wave of indignation generated by the separations led Trump to sign on June 20 an executive order to end them. But this did not end the criminal prosecution of the undocumented, but what Trump wanted was to keep the families together by obtaining permission from the courts so that the children could be in prison with their parents.

On Monday she suffered a serious setback because a federal judge rejected the imprisonment of minors with her parents. It is a “cynical attempt” to circumvent the law, said Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles.

The decision of the judge adds a new mystery to a situation created by the Trump administration that, in addition to the suffering of adults and children, has generated disorder and confusion in the system.

 

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