Trump administration won’t meet family reunification deadline

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The Trump administration said Monday that it will not be able to comply with the court-ordered deadline to reunite all migrant children under age 5 separated from their families with their parents, according to The Washington Post

Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw that officials would be able to reunite at least 54, and possibly up to 59, of the 102 named children by Tuesday, the Post reported.

{mosads}Last month, Sabraw ordered the government to reunite all children under 5 with their parents by July 10 and children ages 5 to 17 by July 26.

The government sought an extension on the deadline, saying they needed more time to conduct DNA testing.

“I am very encouraged about the progress,” Sabraw said on Monday, according to the newspaper. “This is real progress. I’m optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow.”

Officials said they were still working to locate the parents of many of the children, some of whom have been deported. Fabian reportedly said that the reunited families will be released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody ahead of immigration proceedings.

Sabraw had ordered the July 10 deadline in response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). After the Justice Department asked for a blanket extension, Sabraw ordered the government to turn over a list of the children under 5 years old to the ACLU, which it did over the weekend.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt acknowledged the government’s progress on family reunification, but said that they should be moving more quickly to comply with the deadline.

“I believe that they can still reunite some [more] individuals by tomorrow,” Gelernt said Monday, according to the Post. “We just don’t know how much effort the government’s made to find the parents.”

The efforts to reunite the families comes nearly three weeks after President Trump signed an executive order to end family separations at the border. The government has been criticized for not acting to reunite the more than 2,000 migrant children who had already been separated from detained parents.

Updated at 2:58 p.m.

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