Several dozens of families are to be reunited on Tuesday when the court deadline expires, though the fates of thousands of others hang in the balance.
All the children who will be reunited with their parents are under the age of 5 and have been held in custody for the past few weeks or even months. By the end of the deadline, however, only half of this group of separated families will be reunited, which represents just a fraction of all families held by the government under its “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Even though only about 54 of the 100 children under 5 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday’s deadline, a Justice Department attorney, District Judge Dana Sabraw, found such “progress” encouraging. He argued that it will provide “a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not and what time frame will be in place.”
The attorneys for the Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union representing immigrants will most probably set a new deadline for these youngest children on Tuesday when they are set to return to court.
Children at the age of 5 and older are to be reunited with their families by July 26, although a Monday hearing mentioned nothing of this group. The judge and attorneys did express hope that the efforts to reunify the younger families will help speed up the process for the older group.
The rest of the 100 children either have parents already deported, already released somewhere in the U.S., or in federal or state criminal custody, CNN informs.
Separately, on Monday a federal judge rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to change rules that apply to how long families can be detained in government custody.
In a strongly worded order, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee called the Justice Department’s request “wholly without merit” and found “absolutely nothing prevents (the Trump administration) from reconsidering their current blanket policy of family detention and reinstating prosecutorial discretion.”