(Reuters) – The Trump administration mentioned on Thursday it had reunited all eligible young migrant children with their parents after they’d been separated when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, two days after a court-imposed deadline.
But almost half – 46 of the 103 children beneath the age of 5 who had been positioned in authorities care – stay separated due to security issues, the deportation of their parents and different points, in line with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The administration had been required late final month by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego to reunite households separated beneath President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration coverage to prosecute all adults getting into the nation illegally.
Those separations occurred between early May and June 20 when Trump signed an govt order halting them. The Republican president had been dealing with a backlash for the coverage, which some critics referred to as a nationwide shame.
Sabraw on June 26 ordered reunifications for children beneath age 5 by July 10, and for greater than 2,000 older children by July 26.
He gave the administration till three p.m. PDT (2200 GMT) Thursday to replace him on its progress.
The choose issued his order in connection with a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union difficult the separations.
In an announcement, the ACLU criticized the federal government’s failure to fulfill the July 10 deadline, and mentioned it was deciding what treatments Sabraw ought to impose.
“If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families,” mentioned Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the civil rights group.
“But make no mistake about it: the government missed the deadline even for these 57 children,” he added.
The authorities mentioned the 46 young children who had not been reunified had been ineligible for a number of causes, together with well being points or as a result of their parents had “serious” legal histories, had been in custody or had been deported.
Officials have mentioned they’ve taken steps together with the testing of DNA to show household relationships, and reviewing whether or not the parents can be appropriate caregivers.
“Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar mentioned in an announcement.
They added that whereas obstacles remained, “we intend to continue our good faith efforts to reunify families.”
Sabraw’s June 26 order contained exceptions for parents deemed unfit or a hazard to their children. Both sides had been anticipated to return to court docket on Friday to map out reunite different households.
“The reunification process has been chaotic and has unequivocally come at a cost,” Beth Krause, a supervising lawyer on the Legal Aid Society’s Immigrant Youth Project, mentioned in an announcement.
Not all households separated on the border entered the nation illegally.
Reporting by Tom Hals and Jonathan Stempel; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Susan Heavey in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Jeffrey Benkoe and Tom Brown