Federal judge extends deadline to reunite immigrant children with parents
© Wikimedia (Social Justice - Bruce Emmerling)

Federal judge extends deadline to reunite immigrant children with parents

The US District Court for the Southern District of California [official website] on Monday extended [order, PDF] the deadline for US attorneys to reunite 102 immigrant children with their families.

Under a June 26 order granting [JURIST report] the plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] was to reunite children under five years old with their families by Monday, and minor children over five by July 25. ICE requested [text, PDF] an extension for the deadline last Thursday, reasoning that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [official website] requires additional time to fulfill its statutory obligations while reuniting the children with their families. ICE also sought clarification concerning whether HHS was expected to uphold its statutory obligations, saying:

The processes that HHS has developed in order to fulfill its statutory obligations are critical to protecting children against the well-documented risk of trafficking or abuse, but they also require HHS to follow procedures that are time-consuming, even in this unique context. Defendants thus seek confirmation about the Court’s intent in its order as it relates to those procedures and, as appropriate, relief from the Court’s deadlines.

Judge Dana M. Sabraw ordered [text, PDF] that the ICE provide the plaintiffs with a list of the 101 children seeking reunification, along with an update on the child’s reunification status. Secondly, she ordered the ICE to provide a timeline for reunification. The timeline must state whether each child will be reunited by the deadline. Sabraw further stated that the ICE must provide an acceptable excuse for those children who will not be reunited by the deadline. The excuse must be “legitimate logistical impediments that render timely compliance impossible or excusable, e.g., detention of the Class Member in criminal custody or removal of the Class Member from the United States.”