A San Diego judge said he won’t extend deadlines he imposed for the U.S. to reunite children separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings.
"I intend to stand on the deadline," U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said Tuesday.
His comments came shortly after the Trump administration said it’s going to miss the court-ordered Tuesday deadline for reuniting all 102 children under the age of 5 with their undocumented parents due to logistical reasons.
Thirty-eight of the children will be reunited by the end of the day, with 16 more soon to be reunited after that once their eligibility is confirmed, the Justice Department said in a court filing.
"Any children not being reunified by the July 10 deadline are not being reunified because of legitimate logistical impediments that render timely compliance impossible or excusable, and so defendants are complying with the court’s order," the Justice Department said.
Sabraw has ordered kids under age 5 reunited with their parents by Tuesday and July 26 for all children.
The U.S. said that its process for reuniting children with their parents, including checking DNA and criminal records, has already weeded out more than a half-dozen immigrants who were wrongfully claiming to be parents or are have committed crimes that disqualify them from reunification, including one rape.
The four families with young children who have already been united under the court order were released into the public after the parents were secured with ankle bracelets to ensure they return for further processing of their immigration claims, immigration officials said in a conference call with reporters.
"In general that will be the process that we utilize," they said.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit and won the court order requiring the reunifications, said in a filing Tuesday that the government hasn’t attempted to contact some of the parents who were deported without their children.
"Their children are stranded in this country because of defendants’ actions, and yet defendants have apparently done nothing to facilitate their reunification," the ACLU said.
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