Trump administration says 57 children under 5 have been reunited with parents

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

"The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly". Fabian explained that of the 102 children under 5 who have been identified, only 54 of them-possibly 59-would be reunited with their families on time.

Speaking to reporters just before his flight to Europe for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, Trump blamed his administration's failure to meet the court's deadline on the detained families themselves, saying the "solution" to the crisis he created is "don't come to our country illegally".

"If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families", he said. Nine were in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offences.

In Grand Rapids, the children were "absolutely thrilled to be with their parents again".

"This is hard, very hard", she said.

"That is going to be a significant undertaking", U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline.

Catholic Charities, which helped place some of the children in shelter facilities after their separation, held a news briefing in NY at which a handful of the reunited parents expressed relief after weeks of anxiety over the separations.

In 22 other cases, adults posed safety concerns, they said. One adult had a falsified birth certificate, one was accused of abusing the child who had been brought across the border, one was being treated for "a communicable disease" and one had planned to house their child with an adult who had been charged with child sexual abuse. Thirty children will not be reunited by Tuesday, for a range of reasons.

In trying to meet the first deadline, the government began with a list of 102 children potentially eligible to be reunited and whittled that to 75 through screening that included DNA testing done by swabbing the inside of the cheek.

The families that have been reunited were also released from detention while they undergo immigration proceedings, which could ultimately lead to them being deported, so long as they do not commit crimes and do attend court hearings and meetings with immigration agents.

The administration defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories, five adults whose DNA tests showed they were not parents of the children they claimed to have, and one case of credible child abuse. Last week, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there were "under 3000" separated children in all.

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.

Some parents who were already deported may choose not to have their child sent to them, in some cases because the child has other family in the USA or can pursue asylum or other relief.

HHS and DHS are working to make arrangements for those children ages 5 to 17, officials said.

In a court hearing on Tuesday, Sabraw said he wouldn't extend the reunification deadline and that 63 other families should be reunited soon after Tuesday, The Huffington Post reported. They are given access to medical care and counselling, as well as school.

It was not immediately clear the government was also preparing to release qualifying parents with children over five to alternative to detention programs with ankle monitors.

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents by USA immigration authorities at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry.

After the executive order was issued, the administration said it would seek to detain the families together indefinitely, much like a similar attempt by the Barack Obama administration, but that has so far been blocked by the courts.

Other reports by iNewsToday