Forcing families that have already suffered the immense trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday.
"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parent."
—Lee Gelernt, ACLU
"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parent," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt told the Associated Press. "These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain."
As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the nearly 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.
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Last Friday, the Trump administration complained that the deadline imposed by a federal judge was too "extreme" and could not be met. The judge didn't buy this argument, and the ACLU denounced the Trump administration's efforts to push back the deadline as a shameful attempt to "further prolong the suffering of these families."
In a series of tweets responding to the Trump White House's complaints about the "extreme" deadline, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) noted that what is truly extreme is the administration's inhumane family separation policy that made such a court-ordered deadline necessary.
"It is disgraceful that the Trump administration had no plan to reunite children after tearing them away from their parents, and it is even more disgraceful that they are now trying to delay the court-ordered deadline for doing so," Cummings wrote on Twitter. "This is a cruel and harmful policy that was aggravated by the Administration’s lack of basic humanity in thinking ahead of time about how it would bring these families back together."