The Latest: Judge denies request to detain families together
Jul. 10, 2018
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a court deadline for the Trump administration to reunify parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border (all times local):
A Los Angeles federal judge has rejected a Trump administration request to detain immigrant families together, calling it a "cynical" attempt to undo a longstanding court settlement.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said Monday that the federal government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.
The Department of Justice asked Gee to alter a 1997 settlement after the president reversed his zero-tolerance policy that caused uproar when children were taken from their parents in emotional scenes caught on camera.
The government wants to change the settlement so it can detain families together.
Gee says the effort attempts to foist responsibility on the court for the president's "ill-considered" action and Congress' failure to take action.
An immigrant rights attorney representing two of three Central American men being held in a Michigan jail while waiting to be reunified with their children says they haven't seen their sons in three months.
Abril Valdez of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan tells The Associated Press on Monday that the federal government is being "vague" on the time and place of the reunifications that could come Tuesday.
Valdez says the Honduran men have been moved to a jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. Both their sons are 3 and placed in temporary foster care in Grand Rapids.
Valdez says the fathers sought asylum after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
A court has ordered the government to reunify children younger than 5 with their parents by Tuesday. The government says it'll reunify and release more than 50 children with their families by the deadline.
An immigrants' rights group says three fathers from Central America could be reunified with their young children who are in temporary foster care in Michigan after the families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center managing attorney Susan Reed says the men are in jail in the city of Battle Creek and could see their kids Tuesday.
Each child is younger than 5 and placed in foster care in Grand Rapids. Reed says the families have no connection to the state other than "they were brought to Michigan."
A court ordered the government to reunify children younger than 5 with their parents by Tuesday.
The government says it'll reunify and release more than 50 children with their families by the deadline. That's only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it's "both pleased and disappointed" with the government's progress toward meeting a court-ordered deadline to reunify immigrant children younger than 5 with their families.
ACLU Attorney Lee Gelernt told reporters Monday that hopefully more than 50 kids taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border will be back with their families Tuesday, calling it "an enormous victory."
But he said those who remain apart from their parents are "in for a long process."
U.S. Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said at a court hearing that the government was prepared to reunify and release more than 50 children with their parents. That's only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the court order.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered both sides back in court Tuesday to give another update.
A U.S. government attorney says authorities will release roughly half the immigrant children under age 5 who are still in custody after reunifying them with their families under a court-ordered deadline.
U.S. Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said Monday that the government was prepared to reunify more than 50 children with their parents.
In those cases, Fabian says, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will release parents and children together.
The government has proposed expanding family detention, but only three family detention centers are operational and they're at or near capacity.
More than 2,000 children have been held in shelters after being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy.
A federal judge last month ordered the U.S. to reunify parents with all children under 5 by Tuesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears the Trump administration will miss Tuesday's deadline to reunite young children with their parents in more than half of the cases.
The group said the administration provided it with a list of 102 children under 5 years old who must be reunited by Tuesday under an order by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. It said in a statement that it "appears likely that less than half will be reunited" by that deadline.
On Friday, the administration asked the judge for more time but Sabraw said he was sticking to the deadline unless there was a good case for certain exceptions. The two sides are due in court Monday.
Administration officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.