Monday, 16 July, 2018

Trump administration seeks more time to reunite families

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families No children reunited yet from border separations
Andrew Cummings | 06 July, 2018, 23:38

The government, in its filing overnight, said the process could further be delayed by steps that were required before parents could be reconnected with their children, according to its interpretation of the court order: DNA testing to verify parentage, a criminal history check, and assurance that parents could provide for the child's physical and mental well being.

"We will comply with the artificial deadlines created by the court, deadlines that were not informed by the process needed to vet parents, including confirming parentage, as well as confirming the suitability of placement with that parent", Azar told reporters Thursday.

In Friday's legal request - the government asked for more time and clarification on if their current process for confirming parentage is consistent with the court's mandate and "seeks clarification that in cases where parentage can not be confirmed quickly, HHS will not be in violation of the Court's order if reunification occurs outside of the timelines provided by the Court".

Falcon, communications director for RAICES, a nonprofit in Texas that offers free and low-priced legal services to immigrants and refugees, called the move deplorable because collecting such sensitive data would allow the government to conduct surveillance on the children "for the rest of their lives".

"We have to protect children from people who would prey on them", he said. "What we care about is the kids' welfare".

However, Azar warned that entire families may remain in the custody of immigration authorities for extended periods, even those who are claiming asylum.

But in the court filings, the government says it "may need clarification on or some relief from certain parts of the order, so that Defendants can safely reunite families".

Statue of Liberty climber pleads not guilty after immigration protest
Park Police offers briefly detained the protesters, issued them summonses to appear in federal court, and then released them. Rise and Resist NYC, which organised the protest, said the woman's climb had not been part of the group's plans.

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Azar said fewer than 3,000 total were separated, and fewer than 100 under the age of five. "It's not about "zero-tolerance".so it's a much broader and inclusive set than any number that we would have discussed with you before, hence the larger number". "They never registered parents and children properly".

While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department. This year, HHS also took on the role of caring for children separated from their parents as a effect of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

Azar's agency, Health and Human Services, supervises migrant detention centres. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

In a motion filed late Thursday night, the Department of Justice says it has dedicated "immense" resources to reunifying families since the June 26 order. But he signaled they'd ask a judge for more time. "Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial", he wrote.

In a series of tweets, Trump demanded lawmakers "pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws" now, after the House of Representatives last month rejected a broad immigration bill that had his support. 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".

Only recently, the president had told Republicans in Congress to stop wasting their time on immigration until after November's elections, but now Trump is insisting that Congress "FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!"

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