After the Deadline: What Happens to Families Deemed Ineligible for Reunification?

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Summer 2018 will be remembered for many major stories on immigration and immigration policy. Several of these stories centered on events in California. Among these events are two crucial decisions by California judges. The first was a decision by Judge John Mendez in Sacramento, who made the initial ruling against the federal government in its takedown of California’s sanctuary laws.

The second decision was by a judge in San Diego, requiring the federal government to reunite immigrant families separated at the border. It’s this second decision we focus on today, as the deadline to reunite these families came and went on Thursday, July 26th and 711 children weren’t reunited with their parents. These children remain in the custody of the federal government, deemed ineligible for reunification.

From the perspective of a California deportation lawyer, we ask: what does the federal government mean by the term ineligible for reunification and what happens to these 711 children following this July deadline?

Reuniting Families Separated at the Border

Over a month ago, a U.S. district court judge in San Diego ordered the federal government to reunite minor children separated from their parents at the U.S. border. The judge imposed two deadlines on these reunifications. The initial deadline, set for two weeks ago required the government to reunite all children under the age of five. The latter deadline was yesterday, July 26th, when the government was required to reunite all remaining children in their custody.

The federal government was able to meet this deadline for reunification, with one glaring exception. As of today, July 27th there are still 711 children in federal custody. The families of these children were deemed ineligible for reunification. It’s a term that the federal government has applied broadly to several different situations and circumstances.

What Does the Government Mean by “Ineligible for Reunification?”

In some instances, the federal government found criminal records for the individual claiming responsibility and guardianship over a child. While other guardians were deemed ineligible because DNA conflicted their story or proposed relationship to the child. The federal government concluded that these circumstances created safety concerns that prevented them from releasing children to such guardians. There is a risk that the adult claiming guardianship or responsibility for the child could be a trafficker or have other ill intentions.

Another group of children arrived in the U.S. with a relative, while their parents, biological or otherwise, remained in the home country. Whether it was an aunt, uncle, brother, sister, cousin, or grandparents that came with them across the border, these children fall outside the order for reunification. Based on the lawsuit filed with the U.S. district court, the federal government was only required to reunite children with their adult parents or guardians.

Finally, many of the children that remain in detention can’t be reunited with their families because their parent was already deported. During the confusion and chaos of families being separated, several adults relinquished their claim for asylum or pled guilty to illegally crossing the border at their initial hearing and were sent home. It is estimated that this accounts for 460 of the children that remain in federal custody. Now, the U.S. government is having difficulty locating many of these parents, certifying their parental rights, and finalizing the logistics to reunite these families.

What Happens to Families Ineligible for Reunification?

The federal government will work to resolve the cases of the remaining 711 children. This may include obtaining DNA and parental information for parents deported to foreign countries or contacting closest relatives of these children and releasing them into their custody, as may happen when a child crosses the border unaccompanied. In many instances, parents and family members are in contact with a deportation lawyer or the media.

Other cases present more complex problems. What happens when a parent can’t be located or confirmed? What will the federal government do when a parent has a criminal record? Thus far, there isn’t a set deadline for reuniting these 711 children – and it could ultimately take months to settle the most complex cases.

However, even as the current problem of families deemed ineligible for reunification doesn’t have a clear solution, other issues are coming to light. For example, of the 1,800 families reunited in the U.S., there are plans to deport 1,000 of them immediately. Immigration lawyers from around the U.S. are trying to assist these families with the difficult decision of whether or not the children will remain in the U.S. and pursue asylum claims alone or leave with their parents.

Talk with a Deportation Lawyer

Whether your family was impacted by family separations at the border or face deportation from the U.S. for other reasons, Greco Neyland can help. As a California immigration firm, we are poised to assist immigrant families concerned with deportation, asylum claims, and the unique rights afforded these children separated from their parents at the border. Contact us at (213) 295-3500.

After the Deadline: What Happens to Families Deemed Ineligible for Reunification?

inne-rpage-seperator

Summer 2018 will be remembered for many major stories on immigration and immigration policy. Several of these stories centered on events in California. Among these events are two crucial decisions by California judges. The first was a decision by Judge John Mendez in Sacramento, who made the initial ruling against the federal government in its takedown of California’s sanctuary laws.

The second decision was by a judge in San Diego, requiring the federal government to reunite immigrant families separated at the border. It’s this second decision we focus on today, as the deadline to reunite these families came and went on Thursday, July 26th and 711 children weren’t reunited with their parents. These children remain in the custody of the federal government, deemed ineligible for reunification.

From the perspective of a California deportation lawyer, we ask: what does the federal government mean by the term ineligible for reunification and what happens to these 711 children following this July deadline?

Reuniting Families Separated at the Border

Over a month ago, a U.S. district court judge in San Diego ordered the federal government to reunite minor children separated from their parents at the U.S. border. The judge imposed two deadlines on these reunifications. The initial deadline, set for two weeks ago required the government to reunite all children under the age of five. The latter deadline was yesterday, July 26th, when the government was required to reunite all remaining children in their custody.

The federal government was able to meet this deadline for reunification, with one glaring exception. As of today, July 27th there are still 711 children in federal custody. The families of these children were deemed ineligible for reunification. It’s a term that the federal government has applied broadly to several different situations and circumstances.

What Does the Government Mean by “Ineligible for Reunification?”

In some instances, the federal government found criminal records for the individual claiming responsibility and guardianship over a child. While other guardians were deemed ineligible because DNA conflicted their story or proposed relationship to the child. The federal government concluded that these circumstances created safety concerns that prevented them from releasing children to such guardians. There is a risk that the adult claiming guardianship or responsibility for the child could be a trafficker or have other ill intentions.

Another group of children arrived in the U.S. with a relative, while their parents, biological or otherwise, remained in the home country. Whether it was an aunt, uncle, brother, sister, cousin, or grandparents that came with them across the border, these children fall outside the order for reunification. Based on the lawsuit filed with the U.S. district court, the federal government was only required to reunite children with their adult parents or guardians.

Finally, many of the children that remain in detention can’t be reunited with their families because their parent was already deported. During the confusion and chaos of families being separated, several adults relinquished their claim for asylum or pled guilty to illegally crossing the border at their initial hearing and were sent home. It is estimated that this accounts for 460 of the children that remain in federal custody. Now, the U.S. government is having difficulty locating many of these parents, certifying their parental rights, and finalizing the logistics to reunite these families.

What Happens to Families Ineligible for Reunification?

The federal government will work to resolve the cases of the remaining 711 children. This may include obtaining DNA and parental information for parents deported to foreign countries or contacting closest relatives of these children and releasing them into their custody, as may happen when a child crosses the border unaccompanied. In many instances, parents and family members are in contact with a deportation lawyer or the media.

Other cases present more complex problems. What happens when a parent can’t be located or confirmed? What will the federal government do when a parent has a criminal record? Thus far, there isn’t a set deadline for reuniting these 711 children – and it could ultimately take months to settle the most complex cases.

However, even as the current problem of families deemed ineligible for reunification doesn’t have a clear solution, other issues are coming to light. For example, of the 1,800 families reunited in the U.S., there are plans to deport 1,000 of them immediately. Immigration lawyers from around the U.S. are trying to assist these families with the difficult decision of whether or not the children will remain in the U.S. and pursue asylum claims alone or leave with their parents.

Talk with a Deportation Lawyer

Whether your family was impacted by family separations at the border or face deportation from the U.S. for other reasons, Greco Neyland can help. As a California immigration firm, we are poised to assist immigrant families concerned with deportation, asylum claims, and the unique rights afforded these children separated from their parents at the border. Contact us at (213) 295-3500.

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