The Latest: US says it can release half the kids under 5
Jul. 09, 2018
SAN DIEGO (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 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.