US govt seeks to re­unite more young im­mi­grants as new dead­line looms

IM­MI­GRA­TION WOES: Strug­gle to track and match par­ents with chil­dren un­der 5 could be fraught with prob­lems

Oman Daily Observer - - WORLD -

WILM­ING­TON, Delaware: A day af­ter dozens of par­ents were re­united with chil­dren who had been sep­a­rated at the Us-mex­ico bor­der by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials, the US govern­ment faces a loom­ing dead­line to match an­other roughly 2,000 chil­dren with par­ents.

The strug­gle to track and match par­ents with chil­dren un­der five sug­gests meet­ing a July 26 dead­line for re­unit­ing the re­main­ing older chil­dren could be fraught with prob­lems.

“That is go­ing to be a sig­nif­i­cant un­der­tak­ing,” US Judge Dana Sabraw said on Tues­day of the next dead­line.

Sabraw or­dered the govern­ment to re­unite by Tues­day about 60 of the youngest chil­dren who were sep­a­rated as part of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “zero tol­er­ance” pol­icy on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, which brought the law­suit that led to Sabraw’s court or­der, said on Wed­nes­day it did now know if the govern­ment had met the dead­line for the youngest chil­dren.

“Try­ing to find out,” said Lee Gel­ernt, an ACLU at­tor­ney, wrote in an email.

The Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices re­ferred to fig­ures re­leased on Tues­day, when the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion said four chil­dren were re­united and at least 34 more would be by the end of the day, about half of the

The govern­ment has said around 2,300 chil­dren were sep­a­rated from their par­ents at the bor­der as part of the govern­ment’s pol­icy

to­tal in that group.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took to Twit­ter on Wed­nes­day to blame the Demo­cratic Party, among oth­ers, for not fix­ing im­mi­gra­tion. “Judges run the sys­tem and il­le­gals and traf­fick­ers know how it works. They are just us­ing chil­dren!” he said.

One im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cate said she was still await­ing de­tails on when two un­der-five chil­dren would be back with their par­ents. One par­ent was from Hon­duras and the other from El Sal­vador.

“Our clients still have not been re­u­ni­fied!” said Beth Krause, an at­tor­ney with Le­gal Aid So­ci­ety’s Im­mi­grant Youth Project, in an email to Reuters.

If the chil­dren un­der five are not back with their par­ents by Thurs­day, Sabraw has asked the ACLU to sug­gest penal­ties he could levy against the govern­ment.

Also on Thurs­day, the govern­ment will up­date Sabraw on the num­ber of chil­dren that still must be re­united with and whether the govern­ment ex­pects to meet the July 26 dead­line.

The govern­ment has said around 2,300 chil­dren were sep­a­rated from their par­ents at the bor­der as part of the govern­ment’s pol­icy, which was aban­doned in June af­ter in­tense protests.

The govern­ment has said the de­lays stem from the time it takes to run back­ground checks, con­firm parent­age and lo­cate par­ents re­leased from de­ten­tion.

The ACLU’S Gel­ernt said dur­ing a court hear­ing on Fri­day that it was “star­tling” that the govern­ment can­not find some par­ents.

“When they re­lease the par­ent they just don’t walk out the door with no record,” Gel­ernt said. Rights ad­vo­cates have blamed the US govern­ment’s poor tech­nol­ogy for dif­fi­cul­ties track­ing chil­dren across mul­ti­ple govern­ment agen­cies in­volved in their de­ten­tion and care.

— Reuters

Javier (L), a 30- year old from Hon­duras, holds his 4 year old son Wil­liam and Adan, a 26- year old from Gu­atemala sits next to his 4- year old son, Juan, in New York af­ter they were re­united.

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