(Reuters) – The U.S. authorities must convince a judge on Thursday that it has complied with a court docket order for reuniting the youngest migrant kids who had been separated from their mother and father by U.S. officers after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
The authorities has till three p.m. PDT (2200 GMT) on Thursday to clarify to U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego what number of kids nonetheless must be reunited with their mother and father and to tell him if it met Tuesday’s deadline for reuniting kids under five.
On Wednesday night time, a authorities official mentioned all kids under five who had been eligible for reunification could be with their mother and father by Thursday morning.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which sued the federal government over its separation insurance policies, questioned that assertion. “Their statement is vague at a minimum,” mentioned legal professional Lee Gelernt. “We know they missed the deadline.”
Sabraw has requested the ACLU to suggest penalties within the occasion he finds the deadline was missed.
The judge in June ordered the federal government to reunite by Tuesday the youngest kids separated from their mother and father and all kids by July 26.
The two sides will return to court docket on Friday to map out steps for reuniting the remaining kids, who comprise the majority of these separated. Sabraw earlier this week known as that effort “a significant undertaking.”
The authorities has mentioned it is taking care to make sure kids are protected by checking mother and father’ legal historical past, testing DNA to show household relationships and reviewing adults for his or her suitability as a caregiver.
The ACLU has mentioned none of these steps could be obligatory if the federal government had by no means separated the households within the first place.
The authorities adopted its household separation coverage as a part of a broader effort to discourage unlawful immigration earlier this yr. The Trump administration buckled to intense political stress and deserted the coverage in June.
Not all of the migrant households who had been separated on the border entered the nation illegally.
Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Lisa Shumaker