Next steps or­dered for fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion

Judge com­mends ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts so far

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

SAN DIEGO — A fed­eral judge on Fri­day com­mended Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­forts to re­unify young chil­dren and fam­i­lies sep­a­rated at the bor­der but also said he plans to watch closely as a dead­line ap­proaches in­volv­ing older chil­dren.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said at a hear­ing in San Diego that the gov­ern­ment has demon­strated good faith and largely com­plied with a dead­line this week to re­unite fam­i­lies with chil­dren un­der 5.

At the same time, he in­di­cated he will be mon­i­tor­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ac­tions ahead of a July 26 dead­line to re­unite more than 2,500 older chil­dren with their fam­i­lies.

The judge said the ad­min­is­tra­tion must pro­vide a list of names of par­ents in im­mi­gra­tion cus­tody and their chil­dren by Mon­day and com­plete back­ground checks by Thurs­day.

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, which rep­re­sents the sep­a­rated fam­i­lies, has said the ad­min­is­tra­tion failed to meet last Tues­day’s dead­line to re­unify dozens of chil­dren un­der 5 with their fam­i­lies and should there­fore be closely watched as the next dead­line ap­proaches.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­puted that char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, say­ing it re­uni­fied all 58 chil­dren un­der 5 who were el­i­gi­ble and that it com­plied with the judge’s or­der.

It ac­knowl­edged that 19 of the 58 chil­dren were re­uni­fied Wed­nes­day and one came on Thurs­day — af­ter the dead­line — “for lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons spe­cific to each case.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion filed a plan Fri­day say­ing it would im­me­di­ately be­gin re­unit­ing the older chil­dren with their fam­i­lies.

Those re­unions were ex­pected to be­gin “on a rolling ba­sis” lead­ing to the dead­line, ac­cord­ing to the Jus­tice De­part­ment. The re­uni­fi­ca­tions will oc­cur at six to eight un­spec­i­fied lo­ca­tions de­ter­mined by U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment.

The gov­ern­ment said it was us­ing “trun­cated” pro­ce­dures to ver­ify parent­age and per­form back­ground checks in­volv­ing 2,551 chil­dren.

Of­fi­cials said they were con­cerned the process threat­ened child safety but noted it was adopt­ing the shorter pro­ce­dure to com­ply with court or­ders.

Fri­day’s hear­ing was the fourth in eight days on the is­sue, a sign of how closely Sabraw is mon­i­tor­ing the process.

CHRIS­TIAN PALMA/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A woman holds up a protest poster that reads in Span­ish: “Trump, Not one more im­mi­grant child sep­a­rated from her fam­ily!” in Mex­ico City on Fri­day.

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