A government lawyer may need more time to dog-sit over the weekend, but the Trump administration won’t be getting a blanket extension on the deadlines a judge set for the reunification of migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said on Friday that a July
10 deadline for the government to reunite parents with children under 5 would
remain in place, as would the July 26 deadline for all other children,
except in very specific cases, the Associated Press reported.
The judge also ordered the government to provide the
American Civil Liberties Union with a list of the 101 children under 5 who had
been separated from their parents. On Monday, the two sides must try to agree
on which specific cases might warrant a delay ahead of the Tuesday deadline, the
According to the report, the Trump administration already
has matched 83 of the children under 5 with their parents. However, Health and
Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday that no children
had been reunited yet with their parents, and the number of separated
migrant children in HHS custody could be closer to 3,000, rather than
the 2,047 the government had previously reported. However, Azar said the higher
number could also include kids who lost their parents during their journey.
Regardless, the judge didn’t appear to bend to the broad requests
by government attorneys.
“The government must reunite them,” Sabraw said, according
to the news agency. “It must comply with the time frame unless there is an
As Splinter’s Jennifer Kang pointed out, HHS has had to
resort to DNA testing because of disappeared
and destroyed records, and the chaotic implementation by authorities of
Trump’s inhumane and cruel “zero tolerance” immigration policy that the
president rescinded in June. The DNA testing via cheek swabs can take nearly a
week to complete, the AP said.
In arguing for the delays, government attorneys cited a need
to balance “a fast release and a safe release,” the report noted.