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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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Friday, April 14, 2017

Turkish court delivers rebuff to embattled Erdogan

Supporters of the ruling AK Party hold posters of Turkey's PM Erdogan during a demonstration in support him in Istanbul

– A Turkish court blocked a government attempt to force police to disclose investigations to their superiors, officials said on Friday, setting back Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s effort to manage fallout from a high-level corruption scandal.

Police on December 17 detained dozens of people, among them the sons of the interior minister and two other cabinet members, after months of graft probes that were kept secret from commanders who might have informed the government in advance.

The ensuing crisis is unprecedented in Erdogan’s three terms, triggering the ministers’ resignations and a reshuffle, and spreading speculation he may call snap elections next year

Battered by the 10-day-old affair, the Turkish lira hit a record low, stocks were at their weakest in 17 months and the country’s debt-insurance costs jumped to 18-month highs.

The market instability risked putting fissures in a showcase of Erdogan’s rule, Turkey’s rapid economic growth.

The affair turned more personal this week when Turkish media published what appeared to be a preliminary summons for Bilal Erdogan, one of the premier’s two sons, to testify, although its authenticity could not immediately be verified.

Denying wrongdoing and portraying the case as a foreign-orchestrated conspiracy, the Erdogan government purged some 70 of the police officers involved, including the head of the force in Istanbul, and on December 21 it issued a new rule requiring police investigators share their findings with their superiors.

The Council of State, an Ankara court that adjudicates on administrative issues, blocked implementation of the regulation, a Justice Ministry official told Reuters.

GENERALS BACK JUDICIARY

Another of his feats was pruning the power of the military, once the country’s dominant authority and guardian of its secularist constitution. In what implied a rebuke to Erdogan, the generals said on Friday that when they were taken to court in the past they respected the independence of the judiciary.

“The legal proceedings regarding Turkish armed forces personnel were observed in accordance with the duties and responsibilities laid out in the law,” the chief of staff said in a statement.

On Thursday, a Turkish prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, said he had been removed from the corruption case and accused police of obstructing it by failing to execute his arrest warrants.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor responded that Akkas was dismissed for leaking information to the media and failing to give his superiors timely updates on progress.

The government’s attempts to impose new regulations on the police rile Turks who see an authoritarian streak in Erdogan and flooded the streets in mass protests this year.

The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, a Turkish body which handles court appointments independent of the government, threw its weight behind the criticism on Thursday.

The latest requirement that police investigators keep their superiors informed amounts to “a clear breach of the principle of the separation of powers, and of the Constitution,” it said.

On Friday, Erdogan fired back at the jurists.

“The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors has committed a crime,” he said in a speech at Sakarya University, after receiving an honorary doctorate. “Now I ask: Who is going to try this council? If I had the authority, I’d do it right away.”

Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the putative Bilal Erdogan summons, which appeared to have come from a prosecutor’s office but was unsigned.

Mass-circulation newspaper Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying he was the target of those naming Bilal in the case.

“If they try to hit Tayyip Erdogan through this, they will go away empty-handed. Because they know this, they’re attacking the people around me,” he said.

BY ORHAN COSKUN AND ECE TOKSABAY

ANKARA/ISTANBUL

(Writing by Dan Williams; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by LouiseIreland, John Stonestreet and Giles Elgood)

Source:Reuters

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