Judge Tells Trump Admin To Lay Off Toughest Vetting For Separated Families

Judge Tells Trump Admin To Lay Off Toughest Vetting For Separated Families

Tornillo, about 50 miles southeast of El Paso, now houses more than 350 immigrant minors, including 16 children who were separated from their parents after they were apprehended at the border, said Rodriguez, who toured the facility Friday along with state Rep. Lina Ortega.

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But reuniting the remainder has proved to be a much tougher task for Justice and immigration officials, who for months separated migrant families at the U.S-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy.

The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two separated children under 5 years old that meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the government, in its Tuesday "Joint Status Report" notes that in at least 14 of the 102 children's cases, they will not be "reuniting" them with parents because the adults in question are either not actually their parents, have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape and murder, or have been credibly accused of child abuse.

The other problem is the government is using a very lengthy, cumbersome reunification process that was designed for children who were genuinely unaccompanied and are being given to someone coming forward to claim them, rather than this situation where the child was forcibly taken from the parent.

During a hearing Monday, attorneys told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw that just more than half of the 102 children under age 5 who were separated from their families will be reunited by Tuesday's deadline, which Sabraw had previously set.

Those children and their parents, Fabian said, will be released from custody instead of being held in family detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sabraw said Tuesday that "full background checks of other adults in the household are not necessary under these unique circumstances". "We provide [detained pregnant women] with prenatal care, we provide them separate housing, we provide them specialists, we will take them to appointments if they need to go somewhere else, we provide them counseling", said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in May. While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department.

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Despite the delays, the judge reportedly said he had seen "real progress and I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow, and then we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not, and what time-frame will be in place".

The injunction to reunite families came as a result of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit.

"The kids are all over the country", ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parents".

It was the first time the government indicated whether the parents and children would be released or detained together.

And if they continue to drag on, what would you ask the judge to do in that instance? But on Monday, she said nine were removed from the United States and an additional nine were released here.

Nine have parents who were released already from ICE custody and are somewhere in the US.

Sacchetti reported from Washington and Perry reported from San Diego.

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