The Government of Donald Trump has created a group that responds to a mandate of federal judge Dana Sabraw, who last week described as “unacceptable” that a plan had not been proposed to amend the separation of families
The Donald Trump government announced on Thursday the creation of a group that will coordinate the reunification of immigrant families whose parents have been deported or released in the country, according to a court brief.
In a report delivered in federal court in San Diego, the government has set up a group for this task, which responds to a mandate from federal judge Dana Sabraw , who last week described as “unacceptable” that a plan had not been raised to amend the separation of families, which, he said, “is 100 percent responsibility of the government.”
According to the motion presented in court, the group will be led by Major Jonathan White of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Robert Guadian of National Security (DHS), Dale Eppler of the State Department (DOS), and Attorney Scott Stewart of Justice.
“This plan reflects a significant interagency effort to identify and gather information that can be used by plaintiffs to contact members of the class action lawsuit and know their wishes regarding reunification,” government attorneys said in the document.
Regarding the process of reunification of separated migrant families in the southern border, following the policy of “zero tolerance” against illegal immigration that the current Administration undertook in the White House, the lawyers of the Department of Justice (DOJ) informed that the date 1,992 children have been returned to their parents or guardians.
Another 559 continue classified as not eligible for immediate reunification.
The document reveals that the US government still has 386 children under its care whose parents are no longer in the country, of which the Office for the Relocation of Refugees (ORR) has had contact with the parents of 360 minors (299 in the last seven days).
On the remaining 26, the Government does not know the whereabouts of their parents.
Also, a group of 51 parents was released from the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) and so far has not been able to have contact with them, according to the report.
For this last group, the Government proposes a process similar to the groups that were reunified by order of the court. Once they are contacted by federal authorities, their background will be investigated and, if no risk factors are found, an “expedited process for reunification” will be carried out.
The government specified that it would cover the transfer costs that this entails.
Regarding the pending reunifications in which the parents are out of the country, the Government has not revealed what their strategy will be, although in the motion on Thursday it said that it is in the last stage of preparation and will be presented “shortly”, without specifying a date.
The administration once again hinted that it would require the support of civil associations and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the organization that filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of families that were separated on the border with Mexico.
For its part, ACLU corroborated that it has appointed a committee to coordinate the task of locating parents who were repatriated, led by the legal firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and supported by non-profit groups such as KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), Justice in Motion and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC).
After the placement of the deported parents, this committee will confirm the interest in asserting their right to reunification and, if so, let them know both the court and the Government.
In a brief also delivered to the court this Thursday, ACLU says that it has already received from the administration the list of parents who were expelled from the country, as well as some family contact numbers that could give information about their whereabouts.
Said organism says that it has knowledge of children who have accepted their voluntary departure from the country to return to their parents, for which they have asked the government to provide the list of these cases for their respective surveillance.
He also insisted that the federal government speed up the process in cases where the child and the father declare themselves ready for reunification.
Both sides will return to court Friday to explain their progress to federal judge Dana Sabraw, who sees the lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
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