Trump administration, ACLU to meet for hearing about child separation deadline

SAN DIEGO — Representatives from the Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union will be in court Monday in San Diego for a hearing to discuss the deadline to reunite children separated from their parents at the border.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the administration Friday to meet the July 10 deadline to reunite parents with children under 5, following the administration’s request for more time.

The administration said it needed more time to reunite the children to ensure the children’s safety and to confirm their parental relationships.

The judge acknowledged that more time may be justified only in specific cases, which are to be discussed at the hearing, and left the July 10 deadline in tact as well as the July 26 deadline to reunite all children age 5 and above separated from their parents at the border.

The administration was ordered to share a list of the 102 children under age 5 with the ACLU, which successfully sued to force the reunions, by Saturday afternoon.

After receiving the list, ACLU Deputy Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project Lee Gelernt said it appears likely that less than half of the children will be reunited by Tuesday’s court-ordered deadline.

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in May that the zero tolerance policy was in full effect. While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department.

President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid a domestic and international outcry and issued an executive order to require that families be kept together during criminal and immigration proceedings.

On June 26, Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, set the deadlines of Tuesday to reunite children under 5 with their families and July 26 for the rest of the children.

“These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain,” Gelernt said.