US-Federal-judge orders Trump administration to reunite migrant families within 30-days
A federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction to reunite separated parents with their children taken from them under Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. US District Judge Dana Sabraw said all children below 5 years should be returned to their parents within 14 days and those above five, within 30 days. He ordered to provide phone-contact between parents and children within 10 days.
Over 2,000 children separated from their parents
The order also said parents can't be detained/deported without their children unless they are unfit or pose a danger. Over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters hundreds of miles away. Amid outcry, Trump last week issued an executive order to stop the separation of families and said parents and children will be detained together.
Who filed the lawsuit against Trump administration?
The judge was hearing a lawsuit involving a 7-year-old girl who was separated from her Congolese-mother and a 14-year-old boy separated from his Brazilian mother. Also, 17 states, all led by Democratic attorneys general, sued the Trump administration to force it to reunite children and parents. "The administration's practice of separating families is cruel, plain and simple," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said.
US Attorney General defended Trump's stand on illegal immigration
However, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended administration's stand on illegal immigration and said the voters elected Trump to do just that. Juan Sanchez, Chief Executive of US's largest shelters for migrant children, said he fears a lack of urgency by US government could mean it will take months to reunite families. The government has no process to speed the reunification process, said Sanchez.
HSS department still has custody of 2,047 immigrant children
Health and Human Services (HSS) Secretary Alex Azar said that his department still has custody of 2,047 immigrant children separated from their parents at the border. Under questioning, Azar refused to be pinned down on how long it will take to reunite families. Azar said his department does the extensive vetting of parents to make sure they are not traffickers masquerading as parents.
Parents getting busy signals from number provided by authorities: Advocate
At a Texas detention facility, immigrant advocates complained that parents have gotten busy signals or no answers from a 1-800 number provided by federal authorities to get information about their children. Attorneys have spoken to about 200 immigrants at the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, since last week, and only a few of them knew where their children were being held.