ShareThis Page
Political Headlines

Judge says reuniting families is government's sole burden

| Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, 8:21 p.m.
FILE - In this July 26, 2018, file photo, a child holds the hand of a Lutheran Social Services worker as she looks back to a man as they arrive at Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix. The Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union are proposing widely divergent plans on how to reunite hundreds of children with their deported parents after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Matt York, file)
FILE - In this July 26, 2018, file photo, a child holds the hand of a Lutheran Social Services worker as she looks back to a man as they arrive at Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix. The Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union are proposing widely divergent plans on how to reunite hundreds of children with their deported parents after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Matt York, file)

SAN DIEGO — A federal judge on Friday said the Trump administration was solely responsible for reuniting hundreds of children who remain separated from the parents after being split at the U.S.-Mexico border, puncturing a government plan that put the onus on the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The reality is that for every parent that is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said.

His remarks in a conference call came a day after the administration and the American Civil Liberties Union submitted widely divergent plans on how to reunify more than 500 still-separated children, including 410 with parents outside the United States.

The government proposed Thursday that the ACLU, which represents parents, use its “considerable resources” to find parents in their home countries, predominantly Guatemala and Honduras. The Justice Department said in a court filing that the State Department has begun talks with foreign governments on how the administration may be able to aid the effort.

Sabraw said he was disappointed with the court filing “in the respect that there’s not a plan that has been proposed.” He said he would order the government to name someone to lead the effort.

“This is going to be a significant undertaking, and it’s clear that there has to be one person in charge,” he said.

Left unresolved Friday was a temporary halt on deporting reunified families that Sabraw imposed on July 16 to allow time to address another dispute. The ACLU has asked that families have at least a week to decide if they want to seek asylum after they are reunited with their children, a step that the administration opposes.

Sabraw said he wanted to wait to see how a federal judge in Washington, D. C., rules on a lawsuit that also seeks a temporary halt on deportations. If that judge transfers the case to San Diego, Sabraw said he planned to convene a hearing next week for oral arguments.

In late June, Sabraw ordered that more than 2,500 children rejoin their parents by July 26. Hundreds remain apart, however, mainly because their many of those parents are outside the country.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me