700 separated children still in US custody after deadline

28 July, 2018, 08:59 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
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Officials revised the total number of children who have been separated from their parents upon entering the US from 2,551 to 2,531, noting that number includes children who were taken into ORR custody before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance " policy went into effect.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration led to the separation of about 2,500 children while their parents, some asylum seekers, went through a legal process. The government says an additional 378 children have already been released under "appropriate circumstances", according to the court filing.

The majority of reunifications have taken place in the parking lots of detention facilities such as the Port Isabel Detention Center outside of Brownsville.

Likewise, Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, which represented 90 separated families, declared in a written statement, "The government's failure to comply with the court order to reunify the thousands of separated children and parents confirms the administration's utter disregard for the humane and fair treatment of families coming to our country in search of protection".

"The parties are really working through the issues in a very measured and successful way given the enormity of the undertaking", Sabraw said at a status hearing early this month.

The report was requested by Sabraw ahead of the Trump administration's 30-day deadline Thursday to reunite separated families.

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Maria Odom, Kind's vice-president of legal services, said two children the group was particularly concerned about were a nine-year-old and 14-year-old who were discharged from a shelter but their mother was deported before they could be reunited with her.

The government missed the first deadline.

After their immediate needs are met, many families have relied on donated travel miles, phones and money, pooled by advocates, to regain some stability. Then, they'll receive a court date as their immigration cases are processed.

Even new families arriving at the border are being processed quickly and released into the community rather than being held for deportation, according to immigrant rights advocates who track the family situation.

46 children whose parents who have "red flags" resulting from an unspecified "case file review". However, more than 400 of the 711 still in custody have parents who may have already been deported. -Mexican border have been reunited with their families, the USA government said in a court filing on Thursday.

"The balance [of these families] are scheduled for reunification, with transportation pending", government attorney Sarah Fabian told the judge, noting that a small number of reunifications may be delayed because of bad weather or court orders from different jurisdictions.

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ACLU is hoping the judge bans deportations of families slated for removal for seven days after they're reunified because, the group argued, parents must have "sufficient time to consult about what might be the most consequential decision of their lives".

Activists say those parents may have been coerced into signing away their rights.

USA officials took more than 2,500 children away from undocumented adults.

CREW contends, "In hundreds of cases, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents allegedly deleted the initial records in which parents and children were listed together as a family".

Chris Meekins, chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, said in press conference that, "Hundreds of staff within HHS have worked 24-7 to reunify children with their parents in ICE custody". U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw has indicated some leeway given the enormity of the job.

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