Judge tells U.S. to pay costs of re­unit­ing im­mi­grant fam­i­lies

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge in Cal­i­for­nia yes­ter­day or­dered Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to pay the costs of re­unit­ing im­mi­grant par­ents with chil­dren sep­a­rated from them by of­fi­cials at the U.S.-Mex­i­can bor­der, rather than forc­ing the par­ents to pay.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment is work­ing to re­unite around 2,000 chil­dren with their par­ents, who were de­tained and sep­a­rated as part of Trump’s “zero tol­er­ance” ap­proach to de­ter il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

“It doesn’t make any sense for any of the par­ents who have been sep­a­rated to pay for any­thing,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who last month or­dered that the chil­dren be reunited with their par­ents by July 26, said at a hear­ing in San Diego.

The gov­ern­ment missed a dead­line this week for get­ting the youngest of the chil­dren back with their par­ents.

Trump has made his hard­line im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies a cen­tral part of his pres­i­dency. His ad­min­is­tra­tion adopted the fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion pol­icy as part of its ef­fort to dis­cour­age il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, but Trump bowed to in­tense po­lit­i­cal pres­sure and aban­doned the pol­icy on June 20.

A lawyer for the American Civil Lib­er­ties Union, which has sued the ad­min­is­tra­tion over the fam­ily sep­a­ra­tions, said at the hear­ing that im­mi­grant par­ents had been told by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials they had to pay for their travel. One par­ent was ini­tially asked to pay $1,900 to be reunited with a child, ac­cord­ing to ACLU court pa­pers.

Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion lawyer Sarah Fabian called the judge’s or­der on pay­ing for the re­uni­fi­ca­tions “a huge ask on HHS,” re­fer­ring to the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. Fabian said those de­ci­sions were han­dled at the field level, adding that HHS, which houses the de­tained chil­dren, had lim­ited re­sources.

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