Despite the expired deadline, many immigrant children remain without being reunited with their families
BY: MARIA PENA 05/10/2018
WASHINGTN- The Guatemalan girl “Mary”, 9 years old, framed between two guards of migrant children under federal custody that have not yet been reunited with their parents, 71 days after a deadline set by a federal judge, according to activists and lawyers of the immigrant community, that this Thursday they demanded answers from the Trump Administration.
On June 26th, the federal judge Dana Sabraw, fixed a deadline for the Trump Administration for the liberty and reunification of the 2,550 migrant children, that, in the brand of the politics of “zero tolerance”, were separated from their parents at the border.
The children and teenagers under 28 years of age were sent to shelters of the Refugee Resettlement Office (ORR) of the Department of Health and Human Resources, where they joined more than 12,000 unaccompanied children in custody.
The Trump Administration complied with several days of delay of the two deadlines for the separated children, one for children under the age of five, and the other for the rest. However, Trump has always claimed that he can not reunify more than 100 of the children even in the ORR shelters, including “Mary”, among other factors because the parents have been deported or have a criminal record.
That has generalized ariadas protests of groups with the Union of Civil Liberties of the US (ACLU),that has demanded that the government stop the separation of families, and of activists that require a prompt solution for the minors.
The lawyer Astrid Lockhood, of the “Federal Practice Group”, represents a score of families separated at the border, various of them, like “Mary, are waiting to be reunified with their children, and affirmed in this newspaper that these families “can not wait any longer”.
“This girl entered the United States with her aunt and her son, because her parents were already living there. A social worker helped them with the reunification of this boy with his mother, but with Mary we had no luck; she is still stopped”, said Lockhood, in a telephone interview.
The girl that uses the pseudonym of “Mary” to protect her identity is not protected by the collective demand of the ACLU because she did not enter with her parents, according to the explanation of the lawyer.
Her father, apparently, has a minor offense and this disqualifies him for reunification with the minor, but Lockwood hinted that even when he moved out of their housing so that the mother could recover her daughter, all efforts were futile.
The lawyers’ allegations came amid reports that the Administration is expanding the detention centers on the southern border to accommodate the growing number of arrests of undocumented immigrants.
For its part, the Democratic Senator of California, Dianne Feinstein, condemned a report release last Tuesday by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which detailed the chaos and lack of coordination of the authorities responsible for the separation of families.
Equal to other democrats, Feinstein also condemned the conditions of the detention centers that are not suitable for the prolonged detention of immigrants.
The Inspector General’s report is important, taking into account that Congress has not ordered an investigation into the effect of the “zero tolerance” policy on the border, implemented to deter illegal immigration from Central America.
On the defense, the DHS said that the report only confirms the difficulty of enforcing immigration laws that lack effectiveness and, in their view, require reform. A spokeswoman for the DHS, Katie Waldman, however, assured that the agency will continue to refer to those who cross the border illegally to prosecutors for prosecution.
The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) has organized a protest and vigil for Saturday tomorrow in Tornillo (Texas), to denounce the “inhumane incarceration and separation of families”.
Tornillo is one of multiple locations selected by the Trump Administration to expand the detention centers of immigrant families.
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