Posted July 9, 2018, 4:18 pm CDT
A Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge Monday that the government expected to reunite at least 54 immigrant children under the age of 5 with their parents by a court-imposed deadline on Tuesday.
But Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian said the government did not believe it could reunite the entire group of 102 children by the deadline imposed by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego, report the Washington Post, NBC News, the Huffington Post and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
At least nine of the children have a parent who was already deported. Twelve children have parents in criminal custody and they won’t be able to be reunited at this time. Three crossed the border with parents with criminal backgrounds that make them unfit to care for the children, and three others entered the country with adults who were not their parents, according to Fabian. No parental records could be found for one of the children.
The government provided a list of the 102 children to the American Civil Liberties Union before a Saturday deadline set by the judge, but revised some details Sunday, according to the ACLU.
The children were separated from their families as part of a Trump administration policy. After an outcry, Trump issued a June 20 order barring family separations. Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction June 26 that barred family separations that are not in a child’s best interest and required reunification of separated families.
Sabraw set a July 10 deadline for family reunification of children under age 5, and a July 26 deadline for children who are age 5 and older. The government will provide more updates at a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Sabraw said Monday that he was encouraged and there had been “real progress” toward reunification.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, issued a statement on Monday’s court hearing. “The court is holding the Trump administration’s feet to the fire to get these kids reunited with their parents. That’s the most important thing. It’s extremely disappointing the government will not be in full compliance with the court order, but the judge has stepped in to manage this mess of the administration’s making.”