Reuniting families is a really slow process


As of Saturday - which was the court-imposed deadline for the Trump administration to reunify families separated at the border - there were about 2,500 children ages 5 and older still far from being reunited with their parents.

The Justice Department said in a court filing in San Diego that the reunifications are expected to begin Friday and occur "on a rolling basis" up to a July 26 court-imposed deadline, according to The Associated Press.

The reunifications will occur at six to eight unidentified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement locations.

The administration says it is using truncated procedures to verify parentage and perform background checks. It says those procedures raise child safety concerns but are being used to comply with court orders.

At a hearing Friday in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that the government has demonstrated good faith and largely complied with a deadline this past week to reunite families with children under five years old.

He also indicated that he will be monitoring the administration's actions ahead of the July 26 deadline to reunite more than 2,000 children.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the administration failed to meet a July 10 deadline to reunify dozens of children under five years old.

The organization argues that because of that lapse, it should be closely watched as it strives to meet the July 26 deadline for the older kids.

The administration insists it complied with the judge's order, saying it reunified all 58 children under five who were eligible. It acknowledges that 20 of the 58 were reunified within two days after the deadline "for logistical reasons specific to each case."

A Washington Post editorial published on Thursday said: "In its incompetence and callousness, the Trump administration sundered families without establishing a paper trail that would facilitate eventual reunification. So when the judge rendered his order, on June 26, the administration was caught flat-footed."

The parents were made to wear ankle monitors to ensure their appearance at immigration court hearings.

"But the Trump administration seems determined to double down on its cruelty," the Post's editorial said. "Government lawyers would not commit to releasing the parents of older children once they are reunited. Instead, they suggested that detained parents might be offered an unbearable choice: either to agree to be detained along with their children, thereby waiving their sons' and daughters' right to release, or to allow the children to be released to officials, who would then place them with a relative or another sponsor."

The newspaper concluded its editorial with these words, "Carrying out that policy would require more family-detention beds than currently exist. Undeterred, the administration is trying to add capacity. The administration's manufactured nightmare of family separation is not over."


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