Trump Administration Will Not Meet Deadline for Reuniting Young Children

Trump admin releases names of children under 5 separated at border

"I think the other point is, we just don't know how much effort the government has made to find released parents", Gelernt said.

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Lawyers for the Trump administration say they will not be able to reunite dozens of children separated from their parents at the U.S. Mexico border by a court-ordered deadline Tuesday, in part because several of the parents have already been deported. The rest of the children under 5 are expected to be reunited with their parents by July 26, attorneys said.

More than 50 children under age 5 could be back in the arms of their parents by the deadline at the end of the day, the Justice Department said. The court order applies to those children and to others separated from their parents by the US government, unless they are deemed ineligible based on criminal record, disease or other factors.

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the almost 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

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"The court does appear to acknowledge that parents who cross the border will not be released and must choose between remaining in family custody with their children pending immigration proceedings or requesting separation from their children so the child may be placed with a sponsor", O'Malley said.

Both sides agreed to submit a document Monday night stating their disagreements on protocol; Court will reconvene on Tuesday to determine the process for reuniting the remaining children.

The filing noted 13 others now deemed ineligible for reunification, for reasons ranging from parents now in the custody of other criminal justice agencies to a parent who is being treated for a communicable disease, and one who lives in a home with another adult who has a criminal background.

Eight have parents in federal criminal custody and are awaiting being handed over to ICE, while an additional four have parents in state or local criminal custody. "This is 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". That child and his or her parent may be US citizens, according to the filing.

The judge acknowledged that more time may be justified only in specific cases, but initially left the Tuesday deadline intact for children under age 5, along with a July 26 deadline to reunite all children age 5 and above with their parents. "Don't come to our country illegally", he said.

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For the parents and children who have been brought back together, thecelebrations may be short-lived. They also note that DNA swabs are being utilized in order to quickly place the minors.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores had no comment on the discrepancies in the numbers.

In the filing, the ACLU criticized the government's work reuniting the children with their parents.

US District Judge Dolly Gee said the government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.

"The court has a range of options from significant fines to other types of relief", said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

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