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Offbeat Reuniting separated families: Why is it taking so long?

02:40  11 july  2018
02:40  11 july  2018 Source:   msn.com

Alex Azar: HHS performing act of 'generosity' for immigrant children

  Alex Azar: HHS performing act of 'generosity' for immigrant children Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that his department was performing "one of the great acts of American generosity and charity" in its care of immigrant children. Repeatedly pressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" about why HHS won't allow media cameras into facilities housing children, Azar said, "We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities." "It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally," Azar added.

The government is scrambling to come up with a reunion process for thousands of immigrant families it separated at the border -- largely because officials didn't have a specific plan for reuniting families when the administration's "zero tolerance" policy began.

Here are some reasons it 's taking so long : The government separated families without a specific plan for reuniting them. I don't understand why they don't know where the parent is. When they release a parent, they don't just let them walk out the door with no record.

FILE - In this June 25, 2018, file photo, Diana Jung Kim, right, and Homer Carroll, both from Houston, hug during a protest outside the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. More than 50 immigrant children under age 5 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for action by Trump administration and the families will then be released into the U.S., a government attorney said Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 25, 2018, file photo, Diana Jung Kim, right, and Homer Carroll, both from Houston, hug during a protest outside the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. More than 50 immigrant children under age 5 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for action by Trump administration and the families will then be released into the U.S., a government attorney said Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

HOUSTON — The Trump administration hit a court-ordered deadline Tuesday to return immigrant children under the age of 5 to their parents, forcing the government to roll back many of the family separations that resulted from its "zero-tolerance" border enforcement policy.

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Here are some reasons it ’s taking so long : The government separated families without a specific plan for reuniting them. I don’t understand why they don’t know where the parent is. When they release a parent, they don’t just let them walk out the door with no record.

Are families seeking asylum at the border being separated ? The “zero tolerance” policy is supposed to apply only to people who enter the country illegally. Immigration lawyers and advocates who work at the border say that family separations began in earnest after Mr. Trump took office pledging to crack

Last month, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw gave authorities 14 days to reunite parents with children under 5, and 30 days to reunite parents with all other children.

Here are some answers to questions about how the process will work and some potential problems ahead:

HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE SEPARATED?

At least 2,000, according to estimates issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services, which shelters immigrant minors under federal law.

On Thursday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that the number was "under 3,000." That raised questions about whether the number had risen.

At least 34 children were to be reunited with parents Tuesday, the HHS said. That's less than half of the number of children under 5 the Trump administration says are covered by the court order.

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According to federal defenders, some Border Patrol agents are lying to families about why and how long they’re being separated . The administration knows it is separating families . It does not appear to believe it ’s its job to reunite them.

Clemantine Wamariya was separated from her family in the Rwandan genocide; 12 years later she was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show The reason everything is still so clear 12 years on is because the reunion took place on television, and she has rewatched it many times.

The Justice Department said more than 50 separated children could be back in the arms of their parents by the end of the day.

The exact number of reunions will depend on whether authorities can confirm the parents' identities. Authorities gave few details on where the reunions would be held, and many were expected to take place in private.

Some families will miss the deadline. The administration says some of those parents have been deported, and eight have been previously released in the United States.

WHAT DOES THE PROCESS INVOLVE?

The parents who were expected to get their children back Tuesday were being moved to detention facilities close to the shelters where their children are, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian said.

HHS has conducted DNA testing to confirm that the adults and children are related. The government is also doing criminal background checks on parents and potential sponsors.

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Why are children being separated from their families ? Since children are not allowed to be held in a federal jail, they are taken from their parents and placed in the care of the Immigration advocacy groups and attorneys have warned that there is not a clear system in place to reunite families .

Children removed from their families are taken to shelters run by nongovernmental organizations. A woman was reunited with her 7-year-old daughter in Chicago in March after they had been separated for four months in immigration detention.CreditHope Hall/Aclu.

There are significant disagreements between the government and the ACLU over the process, including whether DNA testing is necessary. The government says it should be the general rule, and the ACLU says it should be done only when no other evidence is available to prove parentage.

WHAT ARE FAMILY MEMBERS DOING TO GET THEIR KIDS BACK?

A handful of parents have gone to court. They include a Congolese woman who was separated from her 7-year-old daughter after they sought asylum in California. The ACLU sued on her behalf and expanded its lawsuit to broadly include parents separated from their children.

Many adults bring records with them to prove parentage to government agencies.

The government and the ACLU jointly filed a form late Monday that would be read to all parents in detention without their children. The notice says that a parent separated from his or her child "should not be pressured to agree to removal" from the U.S. to be reunited.

The notice also says that parents who are going to be deported can decide beforehand whether to ask for their child to go with them.

Los Angeles adds $10M to aid separated migrant children

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Story Highlights. Jaycee Dugard, found August 27, is reuniting with her family after 18 years. It is also important to know how Dugard felt about her family before she was taken away, Tabin said. Why do I no longer need an antibiotic before teeth cleaning?

Story highlights. Jaycee Dugard, found August 27, is reuniting with her family after 18 years. " It 's a concept that explains why a kidnapped victim would stay with a perpetrator even though they had an It is also important to know how Dugard felt about her family before she was taken away, Tabin said.

WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?

At the time that Sabraw set the 30-day deadline to reunite all separated parents and children, HHS said children in its care were spending an average of 57 days in a shelter.

Former officials in the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement say its system is accustomed to serving teenagers who arrive in the U.S. alone, often knowing the name of a relative who could potentially sponsor them. Now, some children in the system are too young to talk or struggle to answer questions.

The process also relies on coordination between HHS, which shelters children, and the Department of Homeland Security, which detains adults and initially separated parents and children. HHS says its case managers are working with ICE to link families.

But HHS acknowledges it's working with "disparate data sets." Azar has had to order an audit by hand of all records to confirm which children in his department's care have been separated from a parent.

Twelve parents with children under 5 have been deported already, according to the government.

That leaves the cases of children such as 1-year-old Johan, who appeared in immigration court last week , nursing from a bottle. His father has been deported to Honduras.

The legal group representing the boy said Monday that Johan took his first steps in a government shelter two weeks ago.

___

Galvan reported from Phoenix.

Border officials may have taken child of US citizen into custody .
<p>U.S. officials at the southern border may have taken a child of a U.S. citizen into custody, administration lawyers revealed Tuesday. In a court filing to give an update on efforts to reunite families, lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the administration is unable to determine if the child was separated from the parent, and the government hasn't been able to locate the parent for more than a year.</p>U.S. officials at the southern border may have taken a child of a U.S. citizen into custody, administration lawyers revealed Tuesday.

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