Government Will Miss Deadline To Reunify Young Children With Parents

But records connecting children to their parents have in some cases disappeared, according to some of those working on the reunifications, leaving authorities struggling to confirm connections between family members. Releasing a child without a careful review could "expose him or her to trafficking or abuse", he said. "To my knowledge we do not have any information".

The motion will be discussed with U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw and attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union - which requested the injunction as part of a class-action lawsuit - during a telephonic status conference at noon today. "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 a child".

The ORR program "was not created to track the circumstances" behind a child's arrival in the U.S., Azar said, and the Department of Homeland Security didn't tell the refugee agency which children were taken from parents and which came over the border unaccompanied. "We just don't know how much effort the government's made to find" the parents.

The ACLU reiterated its offer to help the administration track down both sets of parents.

On Friday, lawyers acknowledged that "Although HHS is moving expeditiously to undertake these DNA tests, that process takes meaningful time, even when it is expedited-as this Court has implicitly recognized", the court documents said.

That bitterly ironic details isn't the worst of what's going on with the adjudication of the child-separation situation on the border. When adults went for criminal prosecution for illegal entry into the US, their kids were reclassified as if they came to the country without parents and put in government custody separately.

Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services The family reunification process has so far been beset with complications.

The states also argued they need to gather testimony from migrant parents and children who are in federal custody and could be moved to different detention centers at any time.

The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who has been separated from her son since an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border.

ICE is attempting to match many more parents to older children, who the judge said must be reunited within 30 days.

"Not only are Plaintiffs being forcibly separated from their children without any legitimate reason, they are unable to communicate with their children on a sufficiently frequent basis", reads the report submitted to the court Thursday.

The other parents have either been deported, failed a criminal background check, were unable to prove they were the parent or had been released and immigration agents had been unable to contact them, said Fabian. Sixteen children had not been matched, and it remained unclear if they crossed with their parents, she said.

  • Joey Payne