Trump DOJ Asks Court to Extend Deadline for Reuniting Immigrant Families

Immigration activists hold signs against family separation during a rally outside the White House in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The Justice Department on Thursday asked a federal judge for an extension on the deadlines she’d set to reunite immigrant families separated at the border, saying it will take more time to conduct DNA tests confirming parentage.

San Diego Judge Dana Sabraw set deadlines last week that children under five be returned to their parents in 14 days and all other children be returned within 30 days.

“Given the possibility of false claims of parentage, confirming parentage is critical to ensure that children are returned to their parents, not to potential traffickers,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in their filing submitted late Thursday night. “The Government…seeks clarification that in cases where parentage cannot be confirmed quickly, HHS will not be in violation of the Court’s order if reunification occurs outside of the timelines provided by the Court.”

The Justice Department is also asking to the judge to dispense with her finding that adults must be released if their children cannot be reunited with them by the deadlines.

Authorities are using DNA testing to confirm that the adults who brought the children over the border are indeed their parents and not human smugglers before they are reunited and released. But such testing “takes meaningful time, even when it is expedited,” according to the Justice Department’s filing.

The Department of Health and Human Services must also run a background check on the adults to make sure they do not have a criminal record or history of abuse before releasing the children into their care.

The Trump administration has taken heat over the close to 3,000 children who have been separated from the adults who brought them over the border since early May, when the Justice Department’s “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy was first implemented. President Trump subsequently signed an executive order aimed at detaining families together, but there has been confusion as to how it should be implemented.

Most Popular


Political Theatrics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including all you whippersnappers under the age of 50), I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic. At least I hope that’s ... Read More

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More