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BBC: Deadline to reunite US migrant toddlers with parents extended

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A US judge has given the Trump administration more time to reunite migrant children aged five or younger with their parents.

The decision came after a government lawyer said more than half of the 102 young children may be back with parents by the original deadline of Tuesday.

They are among more than 2,300 children separated from parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border.

The adults say they have fled poverty and gang violence in Central America.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that after viewing a list of the 102 children under the age of five in the government’s care, “it appears likely that less than half will be reunited” by the 10 July deadline.

However, during a hearing on Monday, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian said 54 of the children should be back with their parents by Tuesday.

At the hearing in San Diego Judge Dana Sabraw agreed that some cases “will necessitate additional time” for reunification.

Immigration authorities have offered little information about reunification or what comes next.

Lawyers have described migrant toddlers clambering on court desks during hearings, forced to appear in court alone while their parents are detained.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Los Angeles has rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow the long-term detention of illegal immigrant children.

Under a 1997 agreement, child migrants can only be detained for 20 days.

Judge Dolly Gee said the administration’s request to extend that limit was ” a cynical attempt” to shift immigration policymaking to the courts.

Read the complete article here.