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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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Ukraine says ready for short-term compromise on Russian gas price

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s energy minister on Tuesday said the country was prepared to pay an interim compromise price for Russian gas and criticized Russia’s Gazprom for being unwilling to negotiate.

Last year, Russia supplied about half of the gas Ukraine used, but Gazprom cut supplies on June 16 in a row over pricing and after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine, which is sourcing more gas from the European Union and cutting consumption from last year’s 50 billion cubic meters (bcm), is prepared to compromise on the price until a lawsuit it has filed against Gazprom is resolved, minister Yuri Prodan said.

“We are ready to talk about some kind of reasonable compromise price until the situation is resolved (by the court)…but Gazprom is not taking part in the negotiation process,” Prodan told reporters. “There is no compromise yet from Gazprom’s side.”

In June, Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm arbitration court to establish a “fair and market price” for natural gas supplies from Gazprom.

The case is still in its preliminary stages and it is not known when a final ruling will be reached.

Prodan said around 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of reverse flows from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia would cover over 50 percent of Ukraine’s gas import needs this year.

However Ukraine needs to find another 5 bcm in imports for October-March, he said. “We’re getting ready for a difficult winter.”

Gazprom declined to comment. In April the company voiced doubts over the legality of reversed gas flows from the West to substitute for Russian supplies.

In June, the head of Ukraine’s state gas company said Kiev was ready to pay a compromise price of $326 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas for an interim 18-month period to allow time to end the pricing dispute with Moscow.

On Tuesday, Prodan did not say what compromise price Ukraine is now willing to consider from Gazprom.

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