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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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NSA leaks: UK and US spying targets revealed

The Guardian Reports

More details of people and institutions targeted by UK and US surveillance have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The papers say that the list of around 1,000 targets includes a European Union commissioner, humanitarian organisations and an Israeli PM.

The secret documents were leaked by the former US security contractor, Edward Snowden, now a fugitive in Russia.

They suggest over 60 countries were targets of the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ.

Edward Snowden on a boat during a trip on the Moscow River (Sept 2013)Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia

The reports are likely to spark more international concern about the surveillance operations carried out by the US and the UK.

News that the National Security Agency had monitored the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel triggered a diplomatic row between Berlin and Washington in October.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

This is not the type of behaviour that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own member states”

European Commission

The New York Times reports that GCHQ monitored the communications of foreign leaders – including African heads of state and sometimes their family members – and directors of United Nations and other relief programmes.

The paper reports that the emails of Israeli officials were monitored, including one listed as “Israeli prime minister”. The PM at the time, 2009, was Ehud Olmert.

‘Condemnation’

The Guardian writes that GCHQ targeted the UN development programme, Unicef, German government buildings and the EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

The European Commission said in a statement that the claims, if true, “deserve our strongest condemnation”.

“This is not the type of behaviour that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own member states.”

Mr Almunia, a Spaniard, is responsible for approving mergers and investigating monopolies. He has clashed with the US firm Google.

European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia addresses the media at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels (Dec. 4, 2013)Joaquin Almunia is vice president of the European Commission

The NSA denies carrying out espionage to benefit US businesses.

The Dutch Liberal MEP Sophia in ‘t Veld described the latest claims as “shocking”.

“The UK spying on its fellow EU member states in order to get an economic advantage is simply unacceptable,” she said.

GCHQ did not comment directly on the claims but said it operates “under one of the strongest systems of checks and balances and democratic accountability for secret intelligence anywhere in the world”.

On Thursday a White House panel recommended significant curbs on the NSA’s sweeping electronic surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden left the US in late May, taking a large cache of top secret documents with him.

He faces espionage charges over his actions and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost in Bude, Cornwall (June 23, 2013)The papers claim that GCHQ’s outpost in Cornwall was used for the monitoring

BBC

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