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A government lawyer acknowledged Monday that the Trump administration will miss its first court-imposed deadline to reunite about 100 immigrant children under age 5 with their parents. Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian said during a court hearing that federal authorities reunited two families and expect to reunite an additional 59 by Tuesday’s deadline. She said the other cases are more complicated, including parents who have been deported or are in prison facing criminal charges, and would require more time to complete reunions. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the administration to reunite families separated as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, said he will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to get an update on the remaining cases. He said he was encouraged to see “real progress” in the complicated reunification process after a busy weekend when officials from multiple federal agencies tried to sync up parents and children who are spread across the country. STORY FROM LENDINGTREE Crush your mortgage interest with a 15 yr fixed “Tomorrow is the deadline. I do recognize that there are some groups of parents who are going to fall into a category where it’s impossible to reunite by tomorrow,” he said. “I am very encouraged by the progress. I’m optimistic.” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who leads a lawsuit against the federal government, sounded more skeptical. When asked by the judge if he believed the government was in full compliance of the court order, Gelernt said there was much more work to be done. “Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours has taken significant steps,” he said. “We just don’t know how much effort the government has made to find released parents. I don’t think there’s been full compliance.” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. (Photo: U.S. District Court) The difficulty in reuniting the first 100 children shows the challenge that lies ahead as the Trump administration braces for another deadline in two weeks to reunite nearly 3,000 older children – up to age 17 – with their parents. The process is complicated because of all the different situations that emerged over the weekend. The government initially identified 102 children under age 5 who needed to be reunited but removed three children from that list because investigations into their cases revealed that those children came with adults who were not their parents, Fabian said. Twelve parents were found to be in federal and state custody on criminal charges, making a reunification impossible since the government can’t transfer minors to state and local prisons to protect the well-being of the child. Nine parents were deported, and the government established contact with only four of them, Fabian said. Four children had been scheduled to be released from government custody to relatives who weren’t their parents, leading the government to question whether to allow that process to be completed or to redirect the child back to a parent. Gelernt said he understood many of the hurdles but urged the judge to force the government to scrap its time-consuming investigation into every single case and start a 48-hour clock to reunify families that remain separated by Tuesday. Sabraw said he would decide that during Tuesday’s hearing. Fabian said one of the silver linings of the busy weekend is that her office worked closely with its challengers at the ACLU to share information on each child’s case, to ensure that representatives from immigration advocacy groups and volunteer organizations could be present during each reunification. Gelernt said they’re doing that to help the parents, who are often released from custody with no money and nowhere to go. Fabian said that coordination has led to a more formalized process between government agencies and with the immigrants’ lawyers that should make reunifications go more smoothly in the coming weeks. “I think this process over the weekend helped us see what information, and in what form, is the most useful to share,” she said. “I’d like to make that as efficient a process as possible.” -

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Report: Europe spy agencies work together on NSA-style surveillanc

AlJazeera

Spy agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance programs aimed at monitoring Internet and telephone communications, despite criticizing similar programs run by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Saturday.

Citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian named Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands as countries where intelligence agencies had been developing such methods in cooperation with counterparts including Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ.

The Guardian reported the countries have launched programs to tap into fiber optic cables and work covertly with private telecommunications companies.

The report is potentially embarrassing for Germany and France, which have been the most vocal in protesting U.S. mass surveillance of international communication networks revealed by Snowden since June.

Germany, jointly with Brazil, circulated a draft resolution to a U.N. General Assembly committee Friday that called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other gross invasions of privacy.

There has been particular anger in Germany over the revelation that the NSA monitored the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel, in what her administration has called a “serious breach of trust.”

Merkel sent top diplomats to Washington this week to discuss the U.S. surveillance program, amid efforts to reach a “no spying” deal for Berlin and Paris by the end of this year.

Snowden has written an open letter to Merkel and other German authorities to say he is counting on international support to stop Washington’s “persecution” of him. He is currently in Russia, avoiding U.S. extradition for leaking classified government documents.

The Guardian reported that GCHQ files leaked by Snowden showed the British agency taking credit for advising European counterparts on how to circumvent domestic laws intended to restrict their surveillance powers.

Citing a 2008 GCHQ country-by-country report, the Guardian said the British spies were particularly impressed with Germany’s BND agency, which they said had “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the Internet”.

“We have been assisting the BND … in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany,” the GCHQ document said.

The British agency also praised France’s DGSE agency and in particular its close ties with an unnamed telecommunications company, a relationship from which GCHQ hoped to benefit.

“We have made contact with the DGSE’s main industry partner, who has some innovative approaches to some Internet challenges, raising the potential for GCHQ to make use of this company in the protocol development arena,” the report said.

There was similar analysis of the intelligence agencies in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, with Spain’s CNI praised for its ties with an unnamed British telecommunications firm and Sweden’s FRA congratulated over a law passed in 2008 that widened surveillance powers.

Only Italy dissatisfied the British spies, who noted friction between competing agencies and legal limits on their activities, the Guardian said.

Al Jazeera and Reuters 

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