The government hasn't answered key questions on family separations

The government hasn't answered key questions on family separations

The government hasn't answered key questions on family separations

HHS has until Tuesday to reunite children up to the age of 4 with their parents in the custody of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, and a deadline of July 26 to reunite the remaining kids.

Jennifer Falcon with the immigration advocacy group RAICES, tweeted that the decision is "further proof the administration has no idea how to reunite families", that were separated after illegally crossing the U.S. border under President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

Yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar complained of the rush to review the cases of the nearly 3,000 child detainees to meet the court-imposed deadline.

"HHS is working diligently to minimize the burdens of confirming parentage, and is expediting DNA verification", the DOJ said in the filing.

Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry from opponents who said families should remain together. Before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, migrants seeking asylum under US laws were often granted temporary release as their cases were resolved.

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in May that the zero-tolerance policy was in full effect, even if it meant that families were to be separated as a outcome.

It requests that the court says it is not required to reunite those families as part of its order or gives them additional time. That order had been issued after his Senate testimony.

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Under the approach, parents and other caregivers apprehended after crossing the border were arrested and jailed, and the government placed their children with HHS. Usually, the agency places kids with a USA relative or foster family while their immigration cases are decided.

"The judge made it very clear he wasn't going to allow the Trump administration to drag its feet on reunifying these children with their parents", Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said of the Friday ruling. About 80 percent of those children arrived unaccompanied at the border, and many are teenage boys. However, parental relationships that can be verified more quickly through documentation and anecdotal means will be accepted to comply with the court order, he said. A court hearing on the administration's efforts and plans is scheduled for tomorrow.

Whether or not the government does use the DNA tests to reunite families, the administration has a lot of work to do to meet the court-ordered deadlines - at the time of his conference call with the press, Azar said the government had yet to reunite any of the separated migrant children with their families.

Azar said fewer than 3,000 total were separated, and fewer than 100 under the age of five. Its database has some information about the children's parents but wasn't created to reunify families under the court's deadline. DHS has already started moving some parents to facilities closer to facilities where their children are being kept.

But they also acknowledged that they do not know the whereabouts of the parents of roughly 20 percent of the toddlers still in custody, and likely won't meet the July 10 deadline. The goal is to weed out bogus claims by people who aren't related to the children but are trying to get a hold of them anyway. Advocates said the practice has traumatized families.

The president said he took the drastic measure to secure the border.

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