Migrant families separated by U.S. are refusing reunification over dangers: ACLU

(Reuters) – Immigrant parents separated from their children by the Trump administration and returned to their homes are refusing to be reunited with their children because their countries are so dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told a court on Friday. “We’ve had very difficult conversations with the parents this week,” Lee Gelernt of the ACLU told a federal judge in San Diego. “As much as they want to be with their child, and it’s heartbreaking, they feel it’s too dangerous.” Gelernt told the court that he had spent time over the past week in Guatemala trying to locate parents of some of the roughly 300 children in U.S. care and found about two-thirds were refusing to have their child returned to them. Gelernt said parents who refused to be reunited tended to have older children who could be recruited by violent gangs if they returned home. In addition, some children have relatives in the United States and are unlikely to end up in foster care. The ACLU contacted parents in Central America of 162 children and said 109 refused reunification, according to a court filing. U.S. authorities separated about 2,600 children from parents who had crossed the U.S. southern border with Mexico, many fleeing gang violence in Guatemala and Honduras. In late June, the administration was forced under intense global criticism to abandon the policy, which was aimed at discouraging illegal immigration. Soon after it was rescinded, U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered the children to be reunited with their parents. Reunifications have slowed to a trickle, largely because about 300 parents were removed from the United States without their children. Immigration advocates have said it is difficult to find the parents because many live in remote areas of Central America or have gone into hiding. Gelernt said if the children failed to get U.S. asylum they would be reunited with their parents. The Trump administration said on Thursday it plans to withdraw from a federal court agreement that strictly limits the conditions under which authorities can detain migrant children, and proposed new rules it said would enable it to detain minors during their immigration proceedings. window.RCOM_Data = {“header_yj11sirxy8”:{“template”:”header”,”evergreens”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/news/world”,”name”:”World”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance”,”name”:”Business”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance/markets”,”name”:”Markets”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/politics”,”name”:”Politics”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.tv/”,”name”:”TV”,”sponsored”:false}],”topics”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/subjects/myanmar-reporters”,”name”:”Detained In Myanmar”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/energy-environment”,”name”:”Energy u0026 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dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told a court on Friday.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e”Weu0027ve had very difficult conversations with the parents this week,” Lee Gelernt of the ACLU told a federal judge in San Diego. “As much as they want to be with their child, and itu0027s heartbreaking, they feel itu0027s too dangerous.”u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eGelernt told the court that he had spent time over the past week in Guatemala trying to locate parents of some of the roughly 300 children in U.S. care and found about two-thirds were refusing to have their child returned to them.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eGelernt said parents who refused to be reunited tended to have older children who could be recruited by violent gangs if they returned home. In addition, some children have relatives in the United States and are unlikely to end up in foster care.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe ACLU contacted parents in Central America of 162 children and said 109 refused reunification, according to a court filing.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eU.S. authorities separated about 2,600 children from parents who had crossed the U.S. southern border with Mexico, many fleeing gang violence in Guatemala and Honduras. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eIn late June, the administration was forced under intense global criticism to abandon the policy, which was aimed at discouraging illegal immigration. Soon after it was rescinded, U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered the children to be reunited with their parents.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eReunifications have slowed to a trickle, largely because about 300 parents were removed from the United States without their children. Immigration advocates have said it is difficult to find the parents because many live in remote areas of Central America or have gone into hiding. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eGelernt said if the children failed to get U.S. asylum they would be reunited with their parents.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe Trump administration said on Thursday it plans to withdraw from a federal court agreement that strictly limits the conditions under which authorities can detain migrant children, and proposed new rules it said would enable it to detain minors during their immigration proceedings.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003en”,”attribution”:{“type”:”default”,”content”:”Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware”},”images”:[{“url”:”//s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302034171u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861TS”,”title”:”Immigrant children now housed in a tent encampment under the new “zero tolerance” policy by the Trump administration are shown walking in single file at the facility near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO: Immigrant children now housed in a tent encampment under the new “zero tolerance” policy by the Trump administration are shown walking in single file at the facility near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake “},{“url”:”//s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302034170u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861TU”,”title”:”Activists and families take part in march and sit-in to mark “the court-ordered deadline for the Trump Administration to reunify thousands of families separated at the border, on Capitol Hill in Washington”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO: Children and family members take part in a sit-in following a march to mark “the court-ordered deadline for the Trump Administration to reunify thousands of families separated at the border, in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria”}],”channel_stories”:[{“id”:”USKCN1LN17V”,”updated”:1536357127,”headline”:”Obama rebukes Trump and Republicans for u0027abuses of power,u0027 urges Democrats to vote”,”path”:”/article/us-usa-election-obama/obama-rebukes-trump-and-republicans-for-abuses-of-power-urges-democrats-to-vote-idUSKCN1LN17V”,”image”:”//s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d1u0026iu003d1301996547u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861NT”},{“id”:”USKCN1LN2R3″,”updated”:1536361873,”headline”:”North Carolina challenges u0027unreasonableu0027 U.S. subpoenas for voter data”,”path”:”/article/us-usa-election-north-carolina/north-carolina-challenges-unreasonable-u-s-subpoenas-for-voter-data-idUSKCN1LN2R3″,”image”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d1u0026iu003d1302027975u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SL”},{“id”:”USKCN1LN2RB”,”updated”:1536366064,”headline”:”Two health scares at U.S. airports tied to Mecca pilgrims: U.S. officials”,”path”:”/article/us-airlines-illness/two-health-scares-at-u-s-airports-tied-to-mecca-pilgrims-u-s-officials-idUSKCN1LN2RB”,”image”:”//s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d1u0026iu003d1302029295u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861T0″}],”description”:”Immigrant parents separated from their children by the Trump administration and returned to their homes are refusing to be reunited with their children because their countries are so dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liber”,”dart_zone”:”us.reuters/world/article”,”link_to_parent”:false,”show_others_in_parent”:false,”canvas_enable”:false},”translations”:{“shared”:{“disclaimer”:”Disclaimer”,”sponsored_content”:”Sponsored”,”related_coverage”:”Related Coverage”,”sponsored_topics”:”Sponsored”,”sponsored_stories”:”Sponsored”,”updated”:”Updated []”,”slideshow”:”Slideshow”,”featured”:”Featured”,”edition”:”Edition”,”trending”:”Trending”,”advertisement”:”Advertisement”,”visit_now”:”Visit Now”,”show_full_article”:”Show Full Article”,”breaking_news”:”Breaking News”,”live_update”:”Live Update”,”the_wire”:”The Wire”,”image_count”:”[] Images”,”sections”:”Sections”,”get_the_app_banner_top”:”Better questions. 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