More Than 200 Immigrant Children Remain Separated From Their Parents
More than 200 children are still separated from their parents after the U.S. government separated nearly 3,000 of them at the border, according to a status update hearing in San Diego federal court on Tuesday.
Judge Dana Sabraw commended the U.S. government and the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit that led to his reunification order, for "working collaboratively... It would appear we’re getting very close to getting this wrapped up," he said.
But the ACLU said there are still some challenges when it comes to reunifying children with deported parents, and asked that the Department of Health and Human Services be in charge of all repatriations due to communication problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said Immigration and Customs Enforcement isn’t always providing advance notice before sending children back to their parents in Central America. That means the children end up stranded in airports, with their parents sometimes days away in distant villages.
Gelernt said ICE flew a five-year-old boy to Guatemala City without notifying the ACLU or the parents, so he would have to "spend the night in a strange shelter."
Unlike ICE, Gelernt said, the Department of Health and Human Services, under Commander Jonathan White, is being communicative.
At the request of Judge Sabraw, an attorney for the plaintiffs said the government would work on it. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to a request for comment from KPBS.
Sabraw said he would issue preliminary approval of a settlement giving some of the separated parents a second chance at asylum.