Trump Administration Seeks More Time To Reunify Migrant Families

Trump Administration Seeks More Time To Reunify Migrant Families

Azar also used a new and much higher number for migrant kids separated from their parents, "under 3,000" as compared with the figure of 2,047 he provided at a Senate hearing last week.

Azar said HHS is working "overtime" to confirm that the people who purportedly are parents of those children actually are their parents, and is also checking to see if any parents have a background that makes them unsafe to receive a child.

About 11,800 minors are now in USA custody after crossing over from Mexico, Azar said. Still, Azar insisted his agency would comply with the court's order.

He said that order, from Obama-appointed federal Judge Dolly Gee of Central California, conflicts with a new order from Judge Dana Sabrow, a Bush 43 appointee, which demands that children be reunited with the adults they crossed the border with. "It's not here", Azar said in a conference call.

The administration says federal law requires it to ensure that children are safe and that requires more time. "What we care about is the kids' welfare".

"To comply with the Ms. L injunction, the government will not separate families but detain families together during the pendency of immigration proceedings when they are apprehended at or between ports of entry and therefore subject to the Ms. L injunction", the DOJ lawyers wrote an older document attached to the new filing. Another top official leading the effort said in the court filing that, although officials were working nights and over the weekend, they may be unable to quickly match some families because the tests were inconclusive, or the parents were released from custody and have not yet been found. He said that about 100 of the separated children were below the age of five.

Once HHS reunifies the families, they will be in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, Azar said.

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Another issue for the Trump administration is that Sabraw's ruling also applies to families split up before its "zero tolerance" policy was implemented in May.

Although Azar suggested on Thursday that speedy reunification could risk releasing children to parents who are criminals or risky, the court filing states that the government does not now anticipate any delay based on the need to run background checks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Although White said DNA will only be used for reuniting families and genetic fingerprints will remain confidential, advocates for migrant families were concerned about intrusiveness. But he signaled they'd ask a judge for more time.

The Health and Human Services Department for years has cared for unaccompanied minors crossing the border. The girl, then 6, was sent to a Chicago shelter contracted by Health and Human Services, while the mother was held at a San Diego immigration detention facility until March 6.

"When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our..." DHS's attempt to attribute it to the president's controversial immigration push appears to ignore the agency's own statement, which links to US Customs and Border Protection numbers showing that there's a decline in apprehensions almost every year around this time.

While illegal immigrant children have dogged the government for years, dating back to the Obama administration, this latest go-around has been more pointed because some of it is a result of President Trump's get-tough policy on the border.

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