DOJ Seeks More Time to Reunite Separated Children

Immigration officials have asked a federal judge in San Diego to give them more time to reunite families separated at the board, saying just the children under five are scattered in 23 facilities across 13 states.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an order June 26 requiring the U.S. to reunited separated children and parents. He gave officials two weeks to return children under five and 30 days to reunite the remainder.

Based on a Health and Human Services statement Thursday there are nearly 3,000 children separated from their parents. So far, HHS have found 101 children under five who were separated.

Sabraw’s order give the U.S. until July 10 to reunify children under five with their parents, and until July 26 to reunite older children.

A motion filed Friday by the Justice Department asked Sabraw to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more time because the data necessary to determine who were separated family members in detention “is not maintained as part of ICE’s regular business process,” according to Robert Guadian, the acting Deputy Assistant Director of ICE’s domestic operations in the west.

Guadian said in a sworn statement to the court that ICE had to reconcile data held by other agencies manually and with  methodologies developed by ICE to identify separated parents. This includes use of DNA tests.

So far, ICE has completed 300 summaries of any adult alien’s potential criminal background, but has 1,400 more to complete, it said.

Alien parents would be excluded from unification group if they have convictions for violent offenses, according to Guadian.

Both sides were ordered to meet with the judge Friday to update the status of reunification.

Case: Ms. L. v. ICE, No. 18-cv-428


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