Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Trump Admin Asks Court For More Time To Reunite Immigrant Families

HHS using DNA testing in order to reunite migrant families 'faster' Trump Admin Asks Court For More Time To Reunite Immigrant Families
Melinda Barton | 06 July, 2018, 23:36

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that his department is ready to reunite children in its care with their parents, starting next Tuesday with those under age 5. "We are operating under a court order that forbids the DHS from holding family units together for longer than 20 days".

However the Trump administration's decision to pursue charges led to children being separated from their parents because federal jails aren't able to accommodate families. Usually, the agency places kids with a USA relative or foster family while their immigration cases are decided.

Attorneys for the ACLU, which has sued the government over the family separations practice, say they are monitoring the situation and will go back to the court if officials fail to comply with the deadlines. However, parental relationships that can be verified more quickly through documentation and anecdotal means will be accepted to comply with the court order, he said.

USA officials have ordered DNA tests on "under 3,000" detained children who remain separated from their migrant parents, in an effort to reunite families at the centre of a border crisis, a senior official has said.

"Given the possibility of false claims of parentage, confirming parentage is critical to ensure that children are returned to their parents, not to potential traffickers", the motion says. The order, though, didn't address how or when already-separated families would be reunited.

Lawyers for the agency argue that meeting an upcoming July 10 court-mandated deadline to reunite children under age 5 and a subsequent deadline to reunite the almost 3,000 remaining children later this month would be hard.

Even as the Trump administration implemented its zero tolerance crackdown on immigration - which saw immigrant children split up from their parents and transferred to specifically designated shelters and foster care systems run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement - reports emerged that the government was ill-equipped to undo the logistical nightmare it had set into motion.

While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department.

ICE has so far flown 23 parents on commercial airlines to detention facilities closer to where their children are being housed to facilitate reunions. A court hearing on the administration's efforts and plans is scheduled for tomorrow.

Prosecutions have been pursued against illegal immigrants in previous administrations, but they were rarely used on families - a fact that became known among smugglers and migrants, who then began to bring their children in order to take advantage of the family "loophole".

In a filing overnight, U.S. Department of Justice officials asked the United States District Court for the Southern District of California for more details about procedures to reunite migrant families, saying in some cases the government may need additional time.

The president said he took the drastic measure to secure the border. Republicans are divided among hardliners and business-oriented moderates who don't see immigration as a threat. He says when people enter the country illegally, they should be told "OUT", and forced to leave, "just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn".