Judge orders Trump admin to stick to family reunification deadlines
Judge Dana Sabraw has ruled that the Trump administration “must adhere to reunification deadlines for children forcibly separated from their parents or face possible punishment,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement Tuesday, the deadline for the government to reunite around 100 children under age five with separated parents, while all children must be reunited by July 26. “During today’s status conference, Judge Sabraw said”:
The families were improperly separated, and he would not extend deadlines for reunification: “These are firm deadlines. They’re not aspirational goals.”
DNA tests can only be performed when there is a genuine reason to doubt parentage or parentage cannot be established by any other means; samples must be destroyed after matches are made and cannot be added to a government database.
The government must take a “streamlined approach” for vetting and reunifying families.
The ACLU, which initially sued the government over family separation, is also assisting it in the reunification process, but as a result of the administration’s incompetence, only half of kids under 5 may be reunited by the Tuesday deadline. In the case of one child, investigative reporter Brad Heath tweeted, ‘’the parent’s location has been unknown for more than a year.’ Also, both the parent and the child who’s been in the government’s custody ‘might be U.S. citizens.’”
But while the judge’s order is a positive step in the reunification process, the Trump administration still isn’t done looking for ways to harm these parents and children, because there are signs the administration could be prepared to separate families yet again, not to mention that kids under five are only a tiny portion of the possibly 3,000 kids who have been torn from parents in recent weeks and have yet to be reunited—and the only reason why some have been reunited it because of efforts from Judge Sabraw and advocates.
“The court could not have been clearer that business as usual is not acceptable,” the ACLU’s Lee Gelernt said. “The Trump administration must get these children and parents reunited.”