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Friday, July 20, 2018

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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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Russia deal saved Ukraine from bankruptcy – PM Azarov

AP

Ukraine’s decision to suspend a deal on closer EU ties and sign a Russian aid agreement instead has helped avoid bankruptcy, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has told ministers in Kiev.

The government’s surprise U-turn on an EU association agreement last month has sparked weeks of mass demonstrations.

But Mr Azarov said the package from Russia would provide stability.

Russia has agreed to buy $15bn (£9.2bn, 11bn euros) of government bonds and slash the price of gas.

Ukraine’s opposition has demanded to know what Ukraine offered Russia in return.

Thousands of pro-EU protesters have been holding rallies in Kiev – occupying the capital’s Independence Square – and other cities in western and central Ukraine.

Critics say President Viktor Yanukovych has sold out to Russia and are calling for him and his government to step down.

But Ukraine’s prime minister defended the deal with Russia in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said lower gas prices would allow for economic growth
A pro-European integration protester eats a sandwich near a barricade during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, December 16, 2013Protesters have built barricades around their main camp in Independence Square
An opposition activists hangs pictures of injured protesters during clashes with riot police to a Christmas tree during an action in front of Rinat Akhmetov office in Kiev on December 18, 2013An activist hangs pictures of protesters reportedly injured in clashes with riot police on a Christmas tree

“What would have awaited Ukraine? The answer is clear – bankruptcy and social collapse,” Mr Azarov said.

“What a present for New Year that would be for the people of Ukraine.

Continue reading the main story

Media reaction in Ukraine and Russia

  • Ukraine’s most popular channel, Inter, said “Ukraine has achieved what it wanted” on the “most vital issues”.
  • The popular Ukrayinska Pravda news website said the aim of the talks was simply to allow Mr Yanukovych to remain in power until the 2015 election. “The Russians will get something in return… What exactly is a big secret.”
  • Headlines on Russia’s Rossiya 1 TV referred to the deal as “not just the news story of the day, but of the year”.
  • Business daily Vedomosti said Russia was drawing on “all reserves available” to help Ukraine.

“The agreements between the Ukrainian and Russian presidents allow us to plan the years to come as years of development and people’s confidence about their stable lives.”

He said a pact to lower gas prices by about a third would allow for “a revival of economic growth”.

There was no way Ukraine could have signed the EU agreement as Kiev would have had to accept unfeasibly stringent IMF conditions for economic reform, he added.

In her first speech first since being re-elected German chancellor, Angela Merkel told parliament in Berlin she regretted Ukraine’s decision – but said the offer of the EU trade pact was still open.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier criticised the West for exerting “overt pressure” on the country to favour closer EU ties, adding that the deal with Moscow was “mutually beneficial”.

‘No conditions’

Ukraine urgently needs to cover an external funding gap of up to $17bn (£10.4bn; 12.3bn euros) next year to avoid defaulting on its debts.

The country relies on imports of Russian gas and some 75% of Ukraine’s engineering exports go to Russia.

After talks between Mr Putin and Mr Yanukovych in the Kremlin, it was announced on Tuesday that Russia would buy $15bn-worth of Ukrainian government bonds.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych at the Kremlin in Moscow, December 17, 2013Russia’s President Putin (right) met his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych at the Kremlin on Tuesday

The cost of Russian gas supplied to Ukraine has been slashed from more than $400 (£245; 291 euros) per 1,000 cubic metres to $268.5.

Much of the detail of the agreement still remains unclear.

But Mr Putin said the assistance was not “tied to any conditions”. He also said they had not discussed Ukraine joining a Moscow-led customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

An opposition party leader, Vitali Klitschko, told pro-EU protesters in Kiev on Tuesday that Mr Yanukovych was betraying Ukraine’s independence by joining with Russia.

“He has given up Ukraine’s national interests, given up independence,” said Mr Klitschko, a former boxing champion.

He called on the Ukrainian president to hold a snap election.

Source:BBC

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