Lawyers leading a lawsuit that has forced the Trump administration to reunite almost 3,000 children separated from their parents asked a judge on Thursday to require the federal government to create a fund to pay for mental health counseling that the children will likely need.
The government "must establish a fund to pay for professional mental health counseling, which will be used to treat children who are suffering from severe trauma as a result of their forcible separation from their parents", said the ACLU in court papers filed late Thursday.
These safety concerns include parents who had a serious criminal history, those who were determined not to be the parent of the child, or those who were found to be abusive. "Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families".
The Trump administration must expedite efforts to reunite illegal-immigrant families who remain separated despite Tuesday's court-ordered deadline for action, including by skipping DNA tests for many children, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
"Their statement is vague at a minimum", said attorney Lee Gelernt, noting that a San Diego judge had set a deadline of Tuesday for reuniting those children. He also set July 26 as the deadline to reunite almost 3,000 children over age 5.
The Justice Department said more than 50 children under age 5 could be back in the arms of their parents by the deadline at the end of the day.
In a statement, the US Department of Homeland Security said that 57 of the 103 children covered by the court case had been reunified, as of 7 am ET (1100 GMT) on Thursday. The administration missed the deadline and only guaranteed the reunification of 38 children. "Accordingly, by the end of the day we will decide what remedies to recommend to the court for the non-compliance". Children spend an average of 57 days in shelters before they're placed with a sponsor. "There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months".
That number is not surprising, but many are outraged over the separation of immigrant families. The human services department on July 10 said records showed the parent and child "might be USA citizens".
More than 2,000 children over the age of 5 remain separated from their parents.
On June 23, DHS said it had reunited at least 522 children who had been in its custody and not yet transferred to HHS. "It's all confusing to them why there's so many people here and why there's so many strangers here, but they know that they're safe", Valdes said outside the ICE offices. Eleven others are either in custody for other unspecified offenses, while the last adult's whereabouts are unknown.
The Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy meant families who crossed into the USA illegally from Central America should go straight to jail.
The administration's shift to rely on ankle bracelets followed an order issued Monday by a federal judge in Los Angeles, rejecting the Justice Department's request to modify a long-standing legal settlement outlining how long immigrant minors may be detained.
The chaotic process of attempting to match children with their parents has revealed the haphazardness of the administration's overarching policy.
Jennye Mariel Pagoada Lopez, 24, said one night she got so sick that a fellow detainee was forced to scream and wave at a security camera to get her help - but the officials who arrived still refused to get her to a doctor, despite her heavy bleeding.
Seven adults were determined not to be the child's parent and 12 parents had already been deported.
PHOENIX- The federal government fell well short of the first deadline to reunify young migrant children with their families. Immigration lawyers say they already are seeing barriers to those reunifications from a backlog in the processing of fingerprinting of parents to families unable to afford the airfare to fly the child to them - which could run as high as $1,000 US.