Judge Tells Trump Admin To Lay Off Toughest Vetting For Separated Families

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"They're not aspirational goals", said Judge Dana Sabraw of U.S. District Court in San Diego, admonishing the government.

Those children and their parents, Fabian said, will be released from custody instead of being held in family detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The government has said some children were not eligible for reunification because the parent was deported, had a criminal record or was otherwise unfit.

Presenting parents with that harsh choice will prevent them from using court orders created to protect their children "to bootstrap a right to [their own] release", Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart said in federal court Tuesday while discussing a separate order to reunite families.

On Tuesday, with the court-mandated deadline looming, the government responded. Its explanation: "1 child can not be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year".

The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite perhaps 2,000 or so older children with their families. "In fact, the judge has praised our progress and the focus on the safety of the children".

After Avenatti tweeted a complaint about not being allowed in to the Cayuga home for children in East Harlem, he said he got a call from the center assuring him he could see the youngsters.

It now appears as if the Trump administration will clearly miss this deadline by a wide margin.

He told reporters that 14 illegal immigrants could not be reunited with children because some had criminal histories, some were determined not to be the parents of the children and one had a communicable disease. One parent was from Honduras and the other from El Salvador.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that by the end of the day, he expects 38 children will have been reunited with their parents.

The Department of Justice reported their list in a hearing on Tuesday in which they revealed to the American Civil Liberties Union that the missing father, as well as the child, "might be" USA citizens. "There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months".

Among the other remaining question marks is whether authorities can streamline their vetting process for the migrant parents - which ACLU attorneys have described as needlessly cumbersome - and whether the government can pass along the locations migrant families will be released from custody, so that charity groups can more quickly offer them support. Sixteen had undergone and passed background checks but had not completed DNA verification.

ACLU lawyers took issue with the remaining 16. She ruled at the time that immigrant children generally can't be held longer than 20 days. "If those [parents] submitted birth certificates...[we] suggest those kids be released".

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parent", said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

According to court filings, the Trump administration had reunited just four families by Tuesday afternoon and is expected to reunite 34 more by the end of Tuesday.

The Trump administration was left with few options after a series of court orders. They don't have to prove they will be a good sponsor.

The lead-up to the Monday court appointment indicated the duress the Trump administration is now under in trying to swiftly reunite the families it has separated - and just how messy the situation has gotten.

As Slate notes, "The documents do not indicate that ORR officials have specific knowledge that family separations will increase but do show that the agency is preparing for the possibility".

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