A federal judge rejected the Trump administration’s request to extend the deadline they had to reunite the families which were separated at the border under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw stated that they have to comply with the July 10 deadline to reunite children under 5 years old with their parents, and July 26 for other children, “unless there is an articulable reason.”
According to CNN, Sabraw asked for additional information in order to rule and warned government attorneys he expected “a lot of work over the weekend.”
The Justice Department said that it needed more time in order to match the 101 children under 5 with their parents using DNA testing.
“The Government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunifications or burden class members,” the Justice Department argued in the filing, The Associated Press reported. “At the same time, however, the Government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child.”
Meanwhile, Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said that the administration has so far matched 83 children to 86 parents.
“There’s always going to be tension between a fast release and a safe release,” she said.
The judge said that an extension may be permissible in some cases, and ordered the Trump administration to share a list of the 101 children with the American Civil Liberties Union, who originally sued to force reunification, so the two sides can determine which cases need more time.
“The government must reunite them,” Sabraw said, according to the AP. “It must comply with the time frame unless there is an articulable reason.”
It’s estimated that more than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents since Trump’s “zero tolerance.”
However, President Donald Trump last month signed an executive order that stopped the family separations at the border.