As the deadline came and went, the Trump administration failed to meet a federal court-imposed order to reunited 102 migrant children under five years old with their families. Federal judge Dana Sabraw, who set the deadline for Tuesday, declined to provide an extension to the administration calling the deadlines “firm” and not “aspirational goals.”
While the Trump administration missed Judge Sabraw’s court-ordered deadline to reunite migrants children under the age of five, she also set a deadline of July 26 to reunite the remaining separated children.
“The Trump administration was ordered to reunite more than 100 children with their parents by today,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a tweet on Tuesday. “They’ve missed the deadline and must be held accountable.”
The Trump administration has been successful in reuniting four children, who were separated at the border, with their families as of Tuesday afternoon, according to court filings. There will likely be 34 more reunifications by the end of the day the court filings concluded.
According to court documents from the hearing on Tuesday, the judge “believes officials should be able to reunite 63 of the kids under age five with their parents by the deadline or ‘within the immediate proximity of today,'” CNN reported, while he acknowledged that the rest of the children would take longer. The reasons for reunification to take longer include confirmation of eligibility, follow-up regarding the safety and suitability of the parent and unresolved issues with the background check.
Judge Sabraw made it clear that it was the “government’s obligation” to reunite separated migrant children with their parents, a policy forthcoming by the Trump administration, and that in these cases, procedures used for children arriving to the U.S. alone should not withstand.
“The idea of an application process doesn’t fit in this context,” he said. “The parent has a right to be reunified and it’s the government’s obligation to make it so.”
The judge ordered information on the exact number of children age 5 and older who still need to be reunited with their parents by Thursday. Another hearing is set for Friday.