To date, the US Government has returned to its parents 450 children between 5 and 17 years of age, of a total of 2,500 who were separated from their parents at the border and of which 1,606 are eligible for reunification
The US government reported Friday that it has reunified 450 children between 5 and 17 years of age who were separated from their parents at the border, a “progress” in the eyes of the magistrate who sees the case and who gave until July 26 to gather a total of 2,500 minors.
During a hearing in federal court in San Diego, California, where a lawsuit against the administration of President Donald Trump is still pending, government attorneys said that out of a total of 2,551 children identified in that age range are eligible only for reunification 1,606 children.
To date, the Government has returned 450 children to their parents in that age group, less than a week before the deadline, a process that has been seen by federal judge Dana Sabraw as a “great progress” at least among eligible minors.
The judge, who in previous sessions had been harsh and emphatic with the lawyers of the Department of Justice, even said that he sees a “promising” scenario for the total reunification to take place in time and safely for the minors.
Representatives from the Justice Department said, as they did Thursday in a report sent to the court, that cases in which reunification does not apply include parents with a criminal record or who have waived that benefit because they prefer to be deported without their children.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of separated parents of their children, asked the judge for the government to hand in the list of 136 parents who gave up their right to reunify to make sure they understood What that decision implies, specifically “do not see your children again.”
Human rights activists agree that attention should be paid to parents who make that “difficult decision”.
“We are talking about an unjust system,” said Benjamín Prado, an activist with the Committee of American Friends.
As part of the reunification plan announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it is contemplated that the father will record his intention to return with his son and, in doing so, proceeds to schedule the reunion within a period of time not greater than 48 hours.
Government lawyers said today that 954 parents have already been interviewed and have received approval from federal authorities and, in that regard, expect the number of reunifications to grow in the coming days when the deadline imposed by the magistrate approaches.
During today’s hearing, Justice Department attorneys recalled that once the child is delivered to the father, the family is left on probation with an electric anklet.
In the brief taken to the court last Thursday, the federal government reported that they have a deportation order of 719 parents who are part of the object of this class action.
According to the text, the ACLU has received from the Government a daily list with the names of the parents who have already been approved for reunification, however this organization requested in the same document that before this weekend a list of the parents already released by the Immigration Service.
This week, Sabraw ordered to stop at least until Monday the deportations of newly reunited families so that they have an opportunity to analyze their legal options, including that the child stays in the United States.
Lawyers for both sides did not comment to the press at the end of today’s hearing, the fifth held in two weeks.
Judge Sabraw ordered the government in June to reunify the nearly 3,000 children who were separated from their families after crossing the border with Mexico as part of Trump’s policy of “zero tolerance” with illegal immigration.
Last Tuesday the first part of the term given by the magistrate to the Government to reunify the families of the youngest children was fulfilled.
The Government had to deliver 103 children under 5, although finally that figure was reduced to just under 60 due, according to the Executive, to security measures with children, among other reasons.
The ACLU recommended some kind of compensation for children under five years of age, among them that the Government establish a fund to provide them with “emotional therapies”.
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