DNA tests for separated migrant children

DNA tests for separated migrant children

DNA tests for separated migrant children

"To our knowledge this is a cheek swab and is being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns", the official said. That lawsuit was filed even before Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the "zero tolerance" policy in April, promising to prosecute all illegal border crossers.

Azar said Thursday that federal employees are now manually reviewing documents for each of the 11,800 individual immigrant children in HHS custody to see if anything in their files indicate they arrived at the border with their parents.

The government said it is willing to propose an alternative timeline. Some parents were deported without their children, making reunification all the more hard. The families are asking the court to guarantee them at least four phone calls per week including one conference call.

Azar did not provide an exact figure for the total number of detained children who have been split from their parents, only saying that number is "under 3,000" minors and that they are in "excellent" care, with three meals plus snacks each day and supervised exercise and entertainment. "Parents have a choice" when they're removed from the country to leave their children behind, he said.

"Because of the compressed timeframe, the typical process of using documentations is not going to be completed within the timeframe allowed in this case by the court decision for the great majority of these children", Commander Jonathan White, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, told reporters on Thursday. But the Trump administration didn't maintain ― and, in some cases, reportedly destroyed ― clear records of which children were separated from their parents.

Azar said the agency was using DNA tests to confirm that the parent and child relationships were genuine. "The fact that the USA government lost track of which child goes with which parent shows you the lack of competence that they have about this issue".

Jennifer Falcon with the immigration advocacy group RAICES, tweeted that the decision is "further proof the administration has no idea how to reunite families", that were separated after illegally crossing the U.S. border under President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

(END OPTIONAL TRIM.) In its motion, the administration asked the judge to clarify whether the court's order on reunifications applies to parents who have been deported.

"Not only are Plaintiffs being forcibly separated from their children without any legitimate reason, they are unable to communicate with their children on a sufficiently frequent basis", the filing stated, adding that one of the parents has a toddler so young he can not speak by phone, and she has not been allowed to video conference with him as promised.

Much of the problem reportedly stems from incomplete records on the immigrant families who were arrested at the border.

"I can't believe they have the nerve to ask for more time", Church said.

HHS has until Tuesday to reunite children up to the age of 4 with their parents in the custody of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, and a deadline of July 26 to reunite the remaining kids.

The deadline for the list is on Saturday and US officials are expected to reunite the first round of migrant children by July 10th.

ICE has so far flown 23 parents on commercial airlines to detention facilities closer to where their children are being housed to facilitate reunions. In those cases, protections are needed to make sure children are not handed over to adults seeking to exploit them.

Related news