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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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Saturday, May 19, 2018

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Egypt jails symbols of 2011 uprising

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mursi flee after riot police fired tear gas during clashes in Cairo

(Reuters) – Three leading Egyptian activists were sentenced to three years in prison each on Sunday in a case brought over their role in recent protests, escalating a crackdown on dissent by the army-backed government.

Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel are symbols of the protest movement that ignited the historic 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. Each one was also fined 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,200) by the court.

As the verdict was read, the courtroom erupted in chants of: “Down, down with military rule! We are in a state, not in a military camp!” The case stems from protests called in defiance of a law passed by the army-backed government in November that severely restricts the right to assembly.

Activists say the army-backed authorities, already pressing a fierce crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement of former President Mohamed Mursi, have in recent weeks started to target members of the secular activist movement.

That movement harnessed social media to touch off street protests unprecedented in Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The veteran autocrat mostly stifled protests using a powerful security apparatus that has reasserted itself since Mursi’s removal.

“It’s very significant, it’s not the first time we’ve seen Douma arrested and facing trial … But we haven’t see high profile activists actually sentenced to such a lengthy sentence,” said Heba Morayef, Egypt director with Human Rights Watch.

The session, held at a police facility near a prison on the outskirts of Cairo, was attended by European diplomats.

The army deposed Mursi on July 3 after mass protests against his rule. Since then, the security forces have killed hundreds of his supporters and arrested thousands more.

In the past week, the office of the public prosecutor has ordered Mursi and other leading Islamists to stand trial in two separate cases on charges that include terrorism and conspiring with foreigners against Egypt.

The case against the activists relates to a protest that erupted outside the court where Maher turned himself into the authorities on November 30, heeding a warrant for his arrest on accusations he organized a previous protest without permission.

The accused were charged with calling protests without permission and assaulting policemen.

($1 = 6.9072 Egyptian pounds)

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Alison Williams)

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