The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement on Sunday saying that based on information available to their attorneys, the Trump administration will be able to reunite less than half of the families that a federal court ordered be reunited this week.
The ACLU statement came after federal authorities released information about the 102 immigrant children under 5 years old who have been separated from their parents and who the court ordered be reunited by Tuesday. The ACLU now has names of the young children who need to be reunited, but is not satisfied with what has been done to reunite them.
“It appears likely that less than half of the children under the age of 5 will be reunited by Tuesday’s court-ordered deadline,” the ACLU said.
ACLU attorneys initially said that the government authorities involved in the case provided them “incomplete information” before the Saturday deadline to hand over the names. They also said the revised list received on Sunday was not complete either.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parents,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the ACLU.
“These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain,” Gelernt added.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the government to turn the names over to the ACLU in response to the Justice Department’s request for a blanket extension of the July 10 deadline, which Sabraw ordered last month after the ACLU sued to force family reunifications.
At a hearing last Friday, Sabraw told the administration’s lawyers that the government must adhere to the July 10 deadline, as well as a July 26 deadline to reunite all minor children over 5, “unless there is an articulable reason.”
A status update hearing is scheduled for Monday morning in Sabraw’s courtroom and he is expected at that time to decide which cases may be granted an extension for reunification to take place.
The government’s attorneys asked for the extension, saying that they needed more time to match the children to their parents using DNA testing, saying there is a “strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child.”