The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Health and Human Services Department released a joint statement on Thursday showing the Trump administration is making tremendous progress in reunifying families separated along the United States-Mexico border.
The statement confirmed some families who were separated as a result of illegal border crossings have been united.
The statement read “as of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed” for “eligible children under 5 years old.”
From ABC News:
Late Wednesday evening, an administration official told ABC News that they anticipate that as of early morning on July 12, they will have reunified all children under age 5 who are eligible under the court order for reunification with parents in the United States.
In a hearing on Tuesday, the judge acknowledged that not all 102 of these very young children could be immediately sent back to their parents – because some parents were deported without their children or had possible criminal backgrounds, for example — but told the government that they must reunify 59 children.
A federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in February to reunite an asylum-seeking Congolese mother with her daughter expanded to a class-action lawsuit after the Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented its “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting all illegal border crossers.
In June, the judge ruled that children forcibly separated by U.S. authorities at the border would have to be reunited, laying out a timeline for total reunification by July 26, 2018.
The statement signals profound progress in restoring these families, an effort the departments who signed the statement say “we intend to continue.”
“Dedicated teams at the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of Ms. L class members. As of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed,” the departments said in the statement.
“Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment. Our agencies’ careful vetting procedures helped prevent the reunification of children with an alleged murderer, an adult convicted of child cruelty, and adults determined not to be the parent of the child,” the statement continued.
“Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families. The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly, and we intend to continue our good faith efforts to reunify families.”
And, “Certain facts remain: The American people gave this administration a mandate to end the lawlessness at the border, and President Trump is keeping his promise to do exactly that. Our message has been clear all along: Do not risk your own life or the life of your child by attempting to enter the United States illegally. Apply lawfully and wait your turn.”
“The American immigration system is the most generous in the world, but we are a nation of laws and we intend to continue enforcing those laws. Establishing the immigration system demanded of our political leaders by the American people for more than 30 years—one that serves the national interest—will allow our nation to further realize the foundation of freedom, safety, and prosperity we inherited from our Founders.”
JUST IN: DHS, DOJ and HHS release joint statement saying that “as of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed” for “eligible children under 5 years old.” https://t.co/f9Kx4MWnFf pic.twitter.com/AFzA6hFxnR
— ABC News (@ABC) July 12, 2018
Here’s even more:
There are 103 children under age 5 covered by the court case. Of the 103 children:
- 57 children have been reunified as of 7 a.m. EST on July 12.
- 46 children were acknowledged by the court to be ineligible for reunification or determined by HHS, DHS, and DOJ to be ineligible under court-approved criteria.Of these 46:
- 22 children have been found ineligible due to safety concerns posed by the adults in question:
- 1 adult is being treated for a communicable disease.
- 1 adult planned to house the child with an adult charged with sexually abusing a child.
- 1 adult was alleged to have abused the child.
- 1 adult had a falsified birth certificate (parentage is being examined).
- 7 adults were determined not to be a parent.
- 11 adults have a serious criminal history (charges or convictions for child cruelty, kidnapping, murder, human smuggling, domestic violence, etc.).
- 24 children are not currently eligible for reunification due to circumstances of the adults in question:
- 12 adults have been deported and are being contacted.
- 9 adults are in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offenses.
- 2 adults are in custody of state jails for other offenses.
- 1 adult’s location has been unknown for over a year