“A federal judge in California has ordered U.S. immigration authorities to reunite separated families on the border within 30 days, describing the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis as attempts “to address a chaotic circumstance of the government’s own making.”
The preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego said children younger than 5 must be reunified within 14 days of the order issued Tuesday…
In his 24-page order, the judge also slammed the administration’s lack of preparedness in implementing its policy.
“The government readily keeps track of personal property of detainees in criminal and immigration proceedings,” Sabraw wrote. “Money, important documents, and automobiles, to name a few, are routinely catalogued, stored, tracked and produced upon a detainee’s release, at all levels – state and federal, citizen and alien. Yet, the government has no system in place to keep track of, provide effective communication with, and promptly produce alien children. The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process.”” (A)
“The order appears to set the stage for a legal clash over a crisis that was created by the White House and has sown increasing levels of fear and confusion.
Earlier Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, testifying on Capitol Hill, said the only way parents can quickly be reunited with their children is to drop their claims for asylum in the United States and agree to be deported.
If parents pursue asylum claims, administration officials plan to hold them in custody until the hearings are complete — a process that can take months, and in some instances years, because of a backlog of several hundred thousand cases.
While that process takes place and the parents are in custody, their children would not be returned to them, Azar said, citing current rules that allow children to be held in immigrant detention for no more than 20 days.
“If the parent remains in detention, unfortunately, under rules that are set by Congress and the courts, they can’t be reunified while they’re in detention,” Azar told the Senate Finance Committee. He said the department could place children with relatives in the United States if they can be located and properly vetted.
Azar’s department has custody of 2,047 children separated from their parents after they were apprehended crossing the border illegally since May. That’s when the Trump administration began enforcing the zero tolerance policy.” (B)
(A) Immigrant children: Federal judge orders families separated at border be reunited within 30 days, by Doug Stanglin, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/27/judge-orders-families-separated-border-reunited-within-30-days/737194002/
(B) Judge’s ruling on families separated at border sets stage for new immigration showdown. Here’s a breakdown, by Alene Tchekmedyian and Kristina Davis, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-border-ruling-migrants-children-explainer-20180627-story.html