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Sunday, July 8, 2018

US judge rejects extension to reunite migrant families

Por DamianToo

A judge on Friday refused to grant to the government of President Donald Trump an extension of the deadline to reunite the migrant children he separated from his parents at the United States border with Mexico, and instead admitted that in some specific cases it can be justified more time.

The federal government said it needed more time to gather the 101 migrant children under 5 years of age to ensure the safety of the kids and to corroborate their kinship.

"There's always going to be tension between a quick release and a safe release," said Sarah Fabian, a lawyer from the Justice Department.

District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the government to turn over a list of the 101 children to the American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday afternoon, which put a lawsuit to force meetings of migrant families. Both parties will try to determine during the weekend which cases merit an extension, in order to present a united front in court on Monday morning. "The government should bring them together," the judge said. "You must meet the deadline unless there is a clear reason." The government has paired 86 parents with 83 minors, while 16 are still pending, Fabian said.

The deadline is July 10 for parents with children under 5 and July 26 for the rest. More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents after Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions announced in May that the "zero tolerance" policy was enforced, even if that led to the separation of families. While the parents were prosecuted, the children were placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Trump changed the course on June 20 due to the outrage that generated the measure and the warrants to stay together with families.

If the DNA tests are inconclusive, we will not be able to confirm the child's kinship before the deadline, the officials said in a document delivered to the court. They added that they will need more time to collect DNA evidence or other evidence from parents who have been released from federal custody.

About half of the parents of the 101 children are still in the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Others have left the country or were released, Fabian said, adding that it has been more difficult to reunite children with their parents when they are not in government custody.