U.S. races to meet migrant reunification deadline

By Tom Hals (Reuters) - The U.S. government scrambled to meet a Thursday court-ordered deadline for reuniting hundreds of immigrant children and parents who had been separated at the border with Mexico, leaving many of those families now facing potentially life-changing decisions. Lawyers and advocates working with parents and children complained of miscommunication and lack of coordination as the government shuttled children from around the country to detention centers in the U.S.

Reuters July 27, 2018 00:08:29 IST
U.S. races to meet migrant reunification deadline

US races to meet migrant reunification deadline

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - The U.S. government scrambled to meet a Thursday court-ordered deadline for reuniting hundreds of immigrant children and parents who had been separated at the border with Mexico, leaving many of those families now facing potentially life-changing decisions.

Lawyers and advocates working with parents and children complained of miscommunication and lack of coordination as the government shuttled children from around the country to detention centers in the U.S. Southwest, where many parents were held.

"We’re seeing some kids swept away in the middle of the night to be reunified," said Anthony Enriquez of Catholic Charities of New York, which represents some of the affected children.

Government lawyers told a federal judge in San Diego earlier this week that 917 parents out of about 2,500 who were parted from their children may not be eligible for prompt reunification because they have already been deported, have waived reunification, have criminal backgrounds, or are otherwise deemed unfit.

It was unclear on Thursday how many immigrant families will remain separated.

Those who are reunited face consequential decisions. About 900 have received final orders of removal, and civil rights groups said they must decide if they want to return home as a family or leave their child in the United States to fight for asylum separately.

The U.S. government has said it separated around 2,500 children from their parents as part of the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration.

President Donald Trump ordered that the separations be stopped in June, after a widespread outcry. U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego subsequently ordered the reunifications and set Thursday as the deadline.

As of Monday, officials said they had brought together 879 parents with their children and identified 1,634 parents possibly eligible for reunification.

Updated numbers have not been provided.

"We have many reasons to be proud," said Scott Stewart, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, at Tuesday's hearing in Sabraw's San Diego courtroom.

But Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit that led to Sabraw's order, told the judge at a hearing on Tuesday the process was "a mess," something government lawyers disputed.

Around the United States, groups on Thursday protested the government's immigration policy. About 100 people marched outside the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, near the border with Mexico, while in Washington, protesters included about 20 children with handmade banners.

The ACLU has asked Sabraw to stay the deportation of reunited families for seven days, saying attorneys need the time to ensure that parents understand their rights and have considered their options.

The ACLU on Wednesday filed declarations in court detailing the stories of parents allegedly pressured into waiving reunification or signing deportation papers they did not understand. [nL1N1UL1XN]

Sabraw has criticized some aspects of the reunification process, but in recent days, he has praised government efforts to meet the deadline.

(Additional reporting by Loren Ellliott; Editing by Sue Horton, Noeleen Walder and Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.