Lugging little backpacks, smiling immigrant children were scooped up into their parents' arms Tuesday as the Trump administration scrambled to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of youngsters forcibly separated from their families at the border. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days. After reunification, they face a series of other obstacles - including long, complex legal proceedings, and possibly deportation.
The government last week asked for more time to complete the reunification because it claimed it needed more time to ensure the children's safety and to confirm their parental relationships. Some families are only partially reunified; a child may be returned to his mother, for instance, while his father remains in detention.
The Justice Department said more than 50 separated children could be back in the arms of their parents by the end of the day.
Sabraw said on Monday he was "very encouraged with the progress" made so far, but declined to issue a blanket extension to the administration, instead asking for a detailed list of reasons for each case in which the government had failed to reunite a young child with his or her family.
"Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question that it is protecting children", said Chris Meekins, an official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the children's care.
How divers rescued the first 4 boys from the cave in Thailand
He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave. The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to unsafe levels.
"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", HHS Chief of Staff Chris Meekins, told reporters. During Tuesday afternoon's court hearing, Judge Sabraw stated that he expected administration officials to reunite as many as 63 of the eligible separated children with their parents by the deadline.
A person familiar with the reunification plan said managers at the sites where younger children are being housed have been instructed that they are to put the children in vans on Tuesday and take them to locations that are as yet unknown to them.
On Monday (Tuesday NZT), a federal judge in Los Angeles rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families in long-term facilities, calling it a "cynical attempt to undo a longstanding court settlement". The government is also doing criminal background checks on parents and potential sponsors.
So U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents could soon be presenting detained parents with a choice: Waive your child's right to release and be detained indefinitely as a family, or exercise your child's right to release - and be separated from your child once more.
"But until I have both my children with me, I don't know what I will do", she said.
Carmelo Anthony Waives No-Trade Clause; Has Met With Other Organizations
Worryingly, his presence on the court saw the Thunder's team plus/minus rating slide to negative 14.3 during the playoffs. He failed to earn an All-Star nod for the first time since 2008-09, though his 169 3-pointers made set a new career high.
Trump seemed to express indifference earlier Tuesday when asked about his administration's inability to meet the court-imposed deadline. An additional 20 children have purported parents with whom they can not be reunited because those adults have already been either removed from the United States or released into the country, which removes DHS and HHS's ability to force them to come get the children they claim are theirs.
He similarly said the government should limit its use of DNA tests to reunite parents and children, following the ACLU's argument that the government was using the tests to delay family reunifications.
"I believe that they can still reunite some [more] individuals by tomorrow", Gelernt said during the hearing.
Disagreements arise when it comes to the protocols to be followed in more complicated reunification cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the children, urged the judge to order the process be sped up, saying the children need to be returned to parents as quickly as possible.
Insider Suspected in US Service Member's Death in Afghanistan
Some of the USA forces are involved in counterterrorism operations, particularly against the local Islamic State group. NATO's statement did not elaborate on the exact circumstances of the attack, but said it was under investigation.