Judge says US must reunite migrant families or face penalties

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House,in El Paso Texas

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House,in El Paso Texas

Numerous separated children are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with diplomats from those countries in Guatemala on Tuesday to discuss U.S. immigration policies.

Looking for news you can trust? The rest of the children under 5 are expected to be reunited with their parents by July 26, attorneys said.

She noted that the issues at stake had been part of the Flores settlement - which deals with how the government can keep children in custody - for more than two decades.

Seventy-one children are "likely eligible" to be reunited with their parents but have not yet been ― 51 of them with parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody who may be reunited on or soon after Tuesday, 12 whose parents were deported and eight whose parents were already released into the U.S. The reunification for families in which parents were already deported or released will take longer, the government said.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said: "The court is holding the Trump administration's feet to the fire to get these kids reunited with their parents".

The Trump administration reunited only four children under age 5 with the parents it separated them from at the border before Tuesday and expects to rejoin at least 34 others by the end of the day, according to documents filed in court.

Both sides agreed to submit a document Monday night stating their disagreements on protocol; Court will reconvene on Tuesday to determine the process for reuniting the remaining children. "We provide [detained pregnant women] with prenatal care, we provide them separate housing, we provide them specialists, we will take them to appointments if they need to go somewhere else, we provide them counseling", said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in May.

One child has not been matched with a parent, Fabian said.

"If we find out they are not the legal parent, then clearly we are not going to reunite them", Meekins said.

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More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by U.S. immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry and said families should remain together.

Protesters in New York City marched last month in support of the families separated at U.S. -Mexico border. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

It was the first time the government indicated whether the parents and children would be released or detained together.

In a seven-page order, the judge called that request "a cynical attempt, on an ex parte basis, to shift responsibility to the judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate".

"There's no question that the parties are meeting and conferring", District Judge Dana Sabraw said.

Also Friday, Fabian said 19 parents were deported and 19 were released.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores had no comment on the discrepancies in the numbers.

For the other parents, I think there just hasn't been enough of an effort made to locate the parent.

I don't anticipate them dragging on.

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