Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Judge denies the Trump administration’s request for more time to reunite separated families

A federal judge on Friday appeared to reject the Trump administration’s request to extend the deadline to reunite families separated at the border under the “zero tolerance” policy.

“The government must reunite them,” Sabraw said, according to the AP. “It must comply with the time frame unless there is an articulable reason.”

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that the department must comply with the July 10 deadline to reunite children under 5 years old with their parents, and July 26 for other children. The decision came after the Justice Department had requested an extension on the court-ordered deadlines, saying that it needed more time to match 101 children under 5 with their parents using DNA testing.

“The Government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunifications or burden class members,” the Justice Department argued in the filing, according to The Associated Press. “At the same time, however, the Government has 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.”

The judge said that an extension may be permissible in some cases, and ordered the Trump administration to share a list of the 101 children with the ACLU, who originally sued to force reunification, so the two sides can determine which cases need more time.

More than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Last month, President Trump signed an executive order halting family separations at the border, but the administration has faced criticism for not moving quickly to actually reunite families.

THE HILL