A federal judge hailed today that the government has reunited several immigrant families that were separated at the border, but criticized that it still has in limbo hundreds of children whose parents have no trace.
During a court hearing in San Diego, California, Judge Dana Sabraw granted “great credit” to the Government’s effort to return 1,820 immigrant children between the ages of 5 and 18 with their parents or guardians before the expiration of the deadline. Thursday, however, said that it remains to resolve the reunification of the rest of families.
In today’s session, lawyers from the Justice Department reported that 650 children are still not eligible to be delivered to their parents, including 431 children of parents who were deported and some dozens who have not been contacted after being left behind. released from the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The magistrate said that it is a failure of the Government that is lost the trace of several parents and stressed that the next phase will correspond to its location.
Scott Stewars, a government lawyer, said the administration has worked “in good faith” to meet the deadline stipulated by the court, which was refuted by ACLU, the organization that filed a lawsuit against the government for the separation of immigrant families. as a consequence of the policy of “zero tolerance” against illegal immigration.
“It’s as if the government wants applause to clean up its own disorder, there are still hundreds of children who have not been reunited, the trauma caused to these children could never leave,” the deputy director and chief lawyer at a later press conference said. this matter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lee Gelernt.
During the hearing, the Government reported that some thousand reunited families already have an order and date of deportation, of which 392 are still in the custody of the immigration authorities while the rest are at liberty, although with an electronic shackle.
ACLU lawyers today insisted on the need for families to have a deadline of at least seven days before they are deported, so they can study their options, including leaving their children in the United States. United with a tutor.
Gelernt said that for parents it could be “the last time they see their children”, besides taking into account the emotional effects caused in many children, some of whom have come to “blame their parents” for abandoning them or are afraid to separate from them.
“The trauma is much bigger than we thought,” he said.
The lawyer also alluded to a group of 120 parents who renounced their right to reunification, some of whom made a hasty decision based on “misleading” information or without understanding the language.
The Justice Department has been against the seven-day deadline requested by ACLU because, he says, they do not have the space to house families in detention.
The magistrate did not pronounce himself today on the matter, probably he does it the weekend, and meanwhile the suspension of the expeditious deportation for these families that he decreed weeks ago is maintained.
Although this Friday’s hearing was the last in which both parties will appear in court, the judge has asked the Government to give ACLU all the information it has about parents who are no longer in the country and look for a way to contact them.
In addition, the magistrate will request weekly updates of the reunification process of the families that are still within the group of ineligible.
Given that he did not rule out the continuation of family separations, although for other reasons, he urged that the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Security Department and the Justice Department have a communication protocol and a permanent plan for eventual reunification.
The Government had until the end of this Thursday July 26 to meet with their parents 2,551 undocumented children between 5 and 18 years, but finally the authorities gave an account yesterday of the meeting of more than 1,800 families who considered they were eligible for This, what was described as “failure” by civil organizations.