On Tuesday, the Trump administration will reunite 54 migrant children under 5 with their parents, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian said Monday. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who set a Tuesday deadline for the Trump administration to reunite all 102 under-5 kids separated from their parents under President Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy, acknowledged Monday that some reunification cases "will necessitate additional time." He ordered the Justice Department and ACLU back in court Tuesday to update him and adjudicate protocols on reuniting children.
Fabian was reticent about the administration's reunification plans, citing safety, but The New York Times says "the operation will be carried out with an unusual level of secrecy" by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm. That's pretty unorthodox, the Times adds:
A person familiar with the reunification plan said managers at the sites where younger children are being housed have been instructed that they are to put the children in vans on Tuesday and take them to locations that are as yet unknown to them. ... The plan for Tuesday was unusual not only for its secrecy, but for its oversight: The Homeland Security Department is not typically involved directly in family reunifications. Until now, most such reunifications have occurred at migrant youth shelters, many of which are run by contractors. Those contractors, however, do not appear to be actively involved in the reunifications planned for this week. [The New York Times]
Fabian said the reunited families will be released until their immigration cases are concluded, though Guatemala's vice minister of foreign affairs said 11 reunified families are expected to be deported to Guatemala on Tuesday. Fabian said that nine parents of children under 5 have already been deported without their children, nine parents were released and their whereabouts are unknown, and other migrant parents have criminal records that preclude them being reunited with their kids. One child, age 3, has not been matched with a parent yet.