HHS now estimates under 3,000 kids separated from parents in government custody
Jul 08 2018
The Department of Justice informed a federal judge in San Diego that the administration is in compliance with the judge's order requiring the end of family separations at the US-Mexico border, except under prescribed conditions, such as the safety of the child, and ensuring communication with separated parents and children as of Friday.
Judge Dana M. Sabraw of U.S. District Court in San Diego had set a deadline of Tuesday for reuniting the youngest children with their parents, and in a conference Friday, the judge did not issue a blanket extension.
Azar said fewer than 3,000 total were separated, and fewer than 100 under the age of five.
We will 'place the minors in our custody as expeditiously as possible with parent, close relative, legal guardian or other sponsor that has been vetted to ensure they can provide a safe environment, ' Azar said.
It also acknowledged that ORR's databases were not created to facilitate the reunification of families separated by the government.
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".
He added we are 'meeting the mission even with the constrains handed down by the court'. CNN first reported that the administration was conducting DNA tests on families in custody, which raised concerns among advocates and lawyers working with migrant families who have been separated. Trump administration officials have signaled they want to detain families indefinitely if they cross the border illegally, regardless of whether they are claiming asylum, in part because they say the cases move much quicker. Its database has some information about the children's parents but wasn't created to reunify families under the court's deadline.
"My opinion is that some relaxing of the Court's deadlines is needed to allow HHS, on a case-by-case basis, to complete processes that HHS determines are necessary to make informed class membership determinations and to protect the welfare of the children presently in ORR custody", Jonathan White, a senior official at the federal Health and Human Services Department, said in the filing.
The motion also asked for clarification on the class of unauthorized immigrants that Sabraw's order applies to, including whether it includes parents who have already been deported.
"When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our..."
This isn't a ideal equation; we don't know whether the children released from HHS custody were reunited with parents - only that they're no longer in one of the agency's shelters.
ICE is attempting to match many more parents to older children, who the judge said must be reunited within 30 days. He said he doesn't know of any child advocacy group that believes ORR should go through those lengthy procedures in this situation. But administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity portrayed the operation as a bureaucratic nightmare involving different computer systems, databases and filing systems, and staffs that have been at odds with one another about how to proceed and what information to share with the public.
U.S. Border Patrol agents dispatched parents to criminal courts and then to federal immigration detention, while children were sent to HHS shelters.