USA must convince judge it has reunited migrants under 5

Minnie Murray
July 13, 2018

Of those, 57 were reunified and 46 were ineligible for reunification. Physicians and others blasted the policy and warned about lasting psychological damage to children and parents. "Court intervention is so necessary and we believe it is warranted right now".

The Department of Justice reported their list in a hearing on Tuesday in which they revealed to the American Civil Liberties Union that the missing father, as well as the child, "might be" us citizens. Now, the lawsuit has spread into total reunification of all families separated at the border under Trump's zero-tolerance policy. The pair were detained at a facility in Texas before J.S.R. was brought to CT.

Javier, a 30-year old from Honduras, holds his 4-year old son William during a media availability in NY after they were reunited after being separated for 55 days following their detention at the Texas border, U.S., July 11, 2018.

"Things have taken a real step forward", Mr Gelernt said.

"Both of these children suffer from PTSD and my recommendation would be reunification with their parents as expeditiously as possible", testified Dr. Andres Martin, director of medicine at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Administration lawyers said just four children had been reunited with their families, and 51 children were eligible for reunification with a parent.

But reuniting the remainder has proved to be a much tougher task for Justice and immigration officials, who for months separated migrant families at the U.S-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. In the same order addressing the youngest migrant children, Sabraw also mandated that children aged 5 through 17 - the rest of the almost 3,000, in other words - must be returned to their parents by July 26. Sabraw has agreed that not all 103 children could be reunited, and that certain cases are too complicated to complete within his deadlines.

What happens to families after they are reunited?

The government pays for DNA and screening fees, officials said.

Sabraw is scheduled to hold a court hearing Friday morning in San Diego to decide whether the government did enough.


During the June 27th ruling, the Judge stated that "Measures were not in place to provide for communication between governmental agencies responsible for detaining parents and those responsible for housing children, or to provide for ready communication between separated parents and children".

On Thursday, the government will give Sabraw a progress report on the younger children and whether it expects to meet the deadline for the older group.

"Defendants seek to light a match to the Flores agreement and ask this court to upend the parties' agreement by judicial fiat", Gee, who was appointed by Obama, wrote in her order.

"In the moments before coming to court today, we learned of the plans for reunification by July 26", McConaghy said.

"Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children", said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official. US District Judge Dana Sabraw originally ordered all children under 5 reunited by July 10.

She called the Justice Department's request to amend the settlement "cynical" and said it was an attempt to "shift responsibility to the judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate".

Ahead of Wednesday's hearing, dozens of activists arrived outside of the courthouse in Bridgeport.

Without separations, or family detention, the government has few options besides allowing families to pursue their immigration claims "at liberty" as prior administrations had generally done.

Vanessa Suarez, an organizer of the rally, said the children in CT and across the nation deserve better treatment from the government.

Gisela, a Mexican citizen, said she only spoke to her son once while she was detained in Texas and he was at a shelter for children in Phoenix.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER