The Trump administration is under the gun to reunite immigrant children with their parents to meet a deadline early next week, but some of the legal wranglings will have to wait for a few days — one of Trump’s top lawyers is out dog-sitting this weekend.
As a court hearing in San Diego, the Trump administration asked for an extension on the deadline of Tuesday to reunite the youngest immigrant children with their parents. Judge Dana Sabraw asked a Department of Justice Lawyer named Sarah Fabian and a lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union if they would be available over the weekend to continue proceedings, but the New York Daily News noted that Fabian had more pressing matters.
“I have dog-sitting responsibilities that require me to go back to Colorado but I will be back Monday,” she said.
It was Judge Sabraw who initially ordered that the Trump administration reunite the nearly 3,000 children who had been taken from their parents, with children under 5 together by Tuesday and the rest by July 26.
The Trump administration is already arguing in court that it shouldn’t have to reunite all of the youngest immigrant children. Politico reported that Trump’s lawyers are claiming that some of the parents have already been deported while their very young children remained in detention centers, and said it should not be obligated to return those children to their parents. Talking Points Memo reporter Alice Ollstein also reported on Twitter that Trump’s lawyers are trying to push back against reuniting all the children.
Our team has barely slept in weeks.
How can dog sitting responsibilities take preference over reuniting families? https://t.co/1jCrku9LIo
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 6, 2018
The Justice Department is also saying that the process of DNA testing for children it has lost track of will take quite some time.
“Given the possibility of false claims of parentage, confirming parentage is critical to ensure that children are returned to their parents, not to potential traffickers,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “The Government… seeks clarification that in cases where parentage cannot be confirmed quickly, HHS will not be in violation of the Court’s order if reunification occurs outside of the timelines provided by the Court.”
major U.S. defense contractor quietly detained dozens of immigrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with dark windows, no kitchen and only a few toilets during three weeks of the Trump administration’s family separation effort https://t.co/xwfGxuuhDq
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) July 7, 2018
It is not clear if the Trump administration will be granted an exemption to the July 10 deadline to reunite the youngest immigrant children with their parents, or whether the judge will give some leeway to the Trump lawyer who needs to fly to Colorado for dog-sitting duties over the weekend. The excuse has generated quite a bit of pushback, both from opposing lawyers and critics of Donald Trump’s administration.