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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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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pope urges ‘humane’ US migrant response

Pope Francis leads a prayer session at St Patrick's in the City Church in Washington

Pope Francis has told the US Congress that the US must see migrants as “persons” and not as “numbers”.

Speaking to a rare joint session, the Pope said immigrants should be treated “with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated”.

In the same address, the pontiff renewed his call for ending the death penalty, and for better treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.

He was warmly greeted by 500 lawmakers, justices and officials.

After entering the chamber to thunderous applause, he said the world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since World War Two, and noted the immense challenges that the crisis presents.

But he drew particular attention to the movement of migrants from Central America to the United States in search of a better life – a reference which drew a standing ovation.

 

“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation,” he said.

Also in the speech:

  • the world must be attentive to “fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind”
  • on economic inequality, he said “even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structure and actions are all too apparent”
  • renewed calls for “the global abolition of the death penalty” saying criminals should be rehabilitated
  • he reaffirmed his “esteem and appreciation” to the indigenous people of the Americas who faced “turbulent and violent” contacts with colonising powers
  • the “very basis of marriage and the family” is being called into question, in a thinly veiled warning about same-sex marriage
  • he called on Congress to be inspired by Moses and promote unity through “just legislation”

Mr Boehner, sat behind the pontiff, appeared to be moved to tears during the speech.


Analysis: Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent

It was impossible from this speech to categorise the Pope as left or right, as so many have sought to before he arrived.

There was something for everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, as he called on America to put an end to the death penalty – a cause for the left – and defended all life as sacred, a rallying call for the anti-abortion right.

That was a sentiment greeted with loud cheers by Republicans opposing laws on family planning that currently threaten to gridlock the US government.

Above all, Pope Francis in the US has challenged his audiences to think, and to cast aside ideological divisions in favour of unity and mercy – to reflect on how to help the poor and those without.

This is a Pope that all sides are keen to claim as their own, but he remains hard to pigeonhole, as he went on to eat a meal not with the political elite but with the poor and the homeless who are ever present here, in the capital of the world’s richest nation.

Then, he left in his small car that makes a big point about the environment, showing that sometimes, actions can speak louder than words.


The pontiff also highlighted the work of several famous Americans including Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and said even amid conflict they provide inspiration.

After finishing with the words “God bless America”, the Pope received a prolonged standing ovation.

 

 


Four Americans praised by Francis:

  • former US president Abraham Lincoln, the “guardian of liberty, who laboured tirelessly that this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”
  • “I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago as part of the campaign to fulfil his ‘dream’ of full civil and political rights for African Americans…That dream continues to inspire us all.”
  • on Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, he said: “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”
  • Cistercian monk Thomas Merton, who wrote more than 70 books on spirituality and social justice, “was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church”

The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff then appeared on a balcony at the Capitol and spoke in Spanish to thousands gathered on the West Lawn, and asked Christians and non-Christians alike to pray for him.

He then made his way to a nearby church where he called for charity and compassion towards the homeless, before joining them for a midday meal.

The Pope is on his first official visit to the US and has sought to bring Catholics back to the Church with a more inclusive message. He has drawn massive crowds.

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