Trump admin requests more time to reunite families separated at border
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly asking a federal judge for more time to reunite the thousands of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
NBC News reported that the DOJ requested an extension of the court-mandated deadlines to reunite children with their parents. Attorneys for the U.S. government say the deadlines do not take into account the time needed to verify and vet each parent.
The court mandated last week that children under the age of five be returned to their parents by July 10, and that all other children be returned by July 26. A federal judge also ruled that all parents must be able to speak with their children within 10 days, and that the government is prohibited from deporting any parent without their child.
“The government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunification,” lawyers for the Justice Department said in their response to the court, according to NBC. “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 the child.”
The development comes a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC News that the government was using DNA testing to help reunite parents with their children.
The government on Friday asked the judge to clarify how many children it should be attempting to reunite with parents. In addition, the Justice Department said it’s been difficult to locate parents who have already been deported.
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to end the administration’s practice of separating families at the southern border.
Trump faced backlash from Democratic and Republican lawmakers for his zero tolerance immigration policy, and many continue to question how the administration intends to reunite every family affected by the policy.