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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, April 15, 2017

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Christmas crowds gather in Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Large crowds have gathered in the biblical town of Bethlehem to begin Christmas Eve celebrations.

Tourists packed Manger Square in a party atmosphere, a BBC correspondent says.

The nearby Church of the Nativity sits on the spot where the Bible says Jesus was born.

Meanwhile in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Pope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas Eve Mass since becoming pontiff.

He earlier made a visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict, 86, and said he found his predecessor looking well.

The number of visitors to Bethlehem has been steadily rising in recent years as peace talks to resolve the Middle East conflict have resumed.

Christian pilgrims pray at the Church of the Nativity during Christmas celebrations in the West Bank biblical town of BethlehemChristian pilgrims pray at the Church of the Nativity during Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem
A Christian pilgrim prays inside the Grotto in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, during Christmas celebrations in the West Bank biblical town of BethlehemA pilgrim prays inside the church’s grotto. The church is believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus
Young women wearing traditional Palestinian costumes take part in a Christmas procession at Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of BethlehemYoung women wearing traditional Palestinian costumes take part in a procession on Manger Square
Christian pilgrims gather near a Santa Claus dummy at Manger Square in BethlehemFather Christmas also joins in the Christmas celebrations in Manger Square
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem waves from a car as he is driven through an Israeli checkpoint into Bethlehem to attend Christmas celebrationsThe Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is driven through an Israeli checkpoint into Bethlehem to attend the celebrations
Pope Francis celebrates Christmas MassPope Francis is celebrating his first Christmas Mass since becoming Pontiff

Despite the erection of Israel’s separation barrier with the West Bank – which appears as a high concrete wall around the town – three gates have been opened for Christmas to allow the Christmas procession led by the Latin Patriarch coming from Jerusalem to enter the city, says the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Bethlehem.

“The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other,” said Latin Patriarch Archbishop Fouad Twal – the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land – as he arrived in town.

His motorcade crawled through Bethlehem’s narrow streets as he stopped to greet visitors.

It took Archbishop Twal nearly 90 minutes to make the short trip to the Church of the Nativity, where thousands of people were gathered ahead of Midnight Mass.

In Vatican City, a life-sized nativity scene has been unveiled in the centre of St Peter’s Square.

The BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome says thousands of worshippers from across Italy and around the world queued on a cold clear night before entering St Peter’s.

As soaring music filled the air, Pope Francis made his entrance and moved slowly up the central aisle, followed by a retinue of clerics.

In a short homily, Francis said that every Christian can choose between darkness and light, between love and hate.

“If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us,” he said.

On Christmas Day, Francis will deliver his Christmas message from the basilica’s central balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square.

BBC Rome Correspondent Alan Johnston says the Pope may well use his address to focus attention on places where at the moment there is more darkness than light – such as troubled parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Source:BBC

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