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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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What about Rubio?

Reuters

QuestCinq.com

There is no GOP 2016 contender who had a worse 2013 than Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) It’s a telling story of a politician who lost his moorings, and it’s an open question if he can re-establish himself as a top-tier presidential contender.

U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio delivers his keynote speech entitled 'American Leadership and the future of the Transatlantic Alliance' at Chatham House in London December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS)Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Rubio had an image — consultants call it a “brand” — of a thoughtful, charismatic conservative who many considered the future of the party. For a freshman he had talked substance and learned a lot about foreign policy. He had given wonderful speeches on Israel, immigration and upward mobility. But he had played it safe, never taking a hard vote on a budget or anything else that might annoy the right wing. Then he tried immigration reform, wound up with a bill much more pleasing to the Democratic than GOP base, got bashed and freaked out. He immediately rushed right to grab onto the shutdown. He also seemed to flee from the immigration issue. And then baffling his hawkish supporters, he voted no on action against Syria. By the end of 2013, he seemed immature, unstable and unprincipled. He managed to anger mainstream Republicans and the right-wing base.

He remains an immensely talented politician, however. His life story and rhetorical skills are compelling, and let’s be candid — good-looking politicians do better than ugly ones.

Rubio now, however, has the opposite problem that Gov. Scott Walker faces. Rubio has great curb appeal, but the substance and stability of what is behind that is now in question. Walker is solid, accomplished and liked by most segments of the party. But he lacks the charismatic personality. In real estate terms, he is the house with “great bones” but lacking Rubio’s curb appeal.

A great many Republicans — donors, voters, activists and third-party groups — think the 2016 nominee will need both surface appeal and solid substance to beat Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. In the last two elections the Republican nominee lost by 7 and then 3 points; to shift that to +1 in 2016, the GOP will need someone who is the whole package.

So what does Rubio do now? Fortunately for him, he has the luxury of time. He still has the potential to wow non-Republicans and broaden the party’s appeal. But he needs to settle down, to figure out what kind of politician he wants to be. He can be the mainstream, respected Republican who reassures donors and business people but has enough conservative conviction to win the far-right base. Or he can try to play in the right-wing lane, a competitor for the voters to whom Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) will appeal. Right now, no one can figure out which one he is, or if he has the gravitas to project a presidential persona.

Candidly, he had more to benefit from by being in the mainstream lane, the one from which virtually all GOP presidential nominees come. In 2016 in particular the mainstream lane may have a wide opening. Jeb Bush and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) may not run; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a question mark. If none of those three pan out (or if all run and divide the vote) Rubio may have a path to the nomination.

But whatever sort of candidate Rubio decides to be, he’s got to embrace that outlook, develop an agenda that fits his image and project stability and certainty in that role. He must be consistent. The other alternative, of course, is to sit out 2016, give himself years to mature and come back in another cycle. He’s a very young man so he has a long time to decide when to run.  (If he runs now and loses, he suffers a real blow.)

In short, Rubio dug himself quite a hole, but he has time and skills to climb out if he puts his mind to it. He remains — along with Christie — a huge political talent of the sort that can outshine Hillary. However, curb appeal alone won’t vault him to the top of the 2016 list.

Source:Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

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