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The Reunification Deadline Passes

Recently, the Trump administration ordered the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border to cease. In a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the United States, Judge Dana Sabraw ordered that all migrant children under the age of five must be reunited with their families by July 10 and that all migrant children over the age of five must be reunited with their families no later than July 26.

The first of the two deadlines had passed, and the administration failed to adhere to the deadline; thus, hundreds of children were forced to remain alone and without their families. What were the consequences? According to CNN, Judge Sabraw said the ACLU would be able to suggest any consequences it deemed appropriate; however, the ACLU did not suggest any sort of punishment. Though, two days after the early July deadline, the administration released a statement that it had successfully reunited 58 eligible families with their children.

Just a little over two weeks later, the government was faced with the same issue: it would not be able to adhere to the deadline, yet again. What would their punishment be this time? According to CNN in late July, government officials were scrambling to reunite hundreds of parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Would there be consequences, or would the Court continue to take a lenient approach if the government failed to meet the reunification deadline, like in earlier July?

According to CNN, Judge Dana Sabraw still had not mentioned any sort of punishment or consequence for the government if it had failed to reunite the families by the deadline. The official deadline for the reunification of families fell at 6:00 PM EST on July 26. Earlier in July, Judge Sabraw seemed pleased with the way the government was handling the situation, as its efforts did not go unnoticed in Judge Sabraw’s eyes. Was he pleased again, after the passage of the deadline?

Unfortunately, government officials were unable to meet the recent July 26 deadline. In light of recent events, the government released a statement explaining that it reunited 1,442 children ages five and older. According to TIME, an additional 378 children were reunited with their families or sponsors (a close family member) in other areas around the nation. However, this was not enough; there are still hundreds of innocent children who were ripped apart from their families who are suffering from emotional dismay.

Approximately 700 children remain separated from their families. According to TIME, 431 of those children have parents that have been deported. Reuniting these children with their families will be more difficult, as the necessary paperwork will take longer to process, plus the children will have to be transported back to their home countries. TIME also reported that 120 parents have waived their right to be reunited with their children and 67 families had “red flags,” meaning that there has been past criminal history in these families. While the reunification process continues, government officials will be under the watchful eye of Judge Sabraw.

Facing deportation, separation at the border or another immigration issue can be taxing on an individual’s well-being. If you or a loved one is a non-citizen and are concerned about immigration issues that you may be facing, it is imperative that you consult an experienced New York immigration lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and potentially help you find available pathways to legal residency and citizenship. The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP have years of experience representing clients in complex immigration cases. With two immigration law offices located in New York City and Clark, New Jersey, the firm’s attorneys are available to assist individuals throughout the tri-state area with their immigration matters. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York City immigration lawyers, call (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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