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US Says It Will Release, Reunite 50 Immigrant Children

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More than 50 immigrant children under age 5 will be reunited with their parents by Tuesday’s court-ordered deadline for action by Trump administration, and the families will then be released into the U.S., a government attorney said Monday.

That’s only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order.

At a court hearing, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian acknowledged the government wouldn’t meet the deadline for all the children, citing a variety of reasons, including that the parents of some of the youngsters have already been deported.

Fabian said that 54 children will be joined with their parents by the end of Tuesday at locations across the country and that an additional five were undergoing final background checks.

It was the first time the government indicated whether the parents and children would be released or detained together. They will be set free in the U.S. pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years.

Fabian didn’t say why they were being released, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has little space to hold families.

ICE has three family detention centers with room for about 3,000 people in all, and the places are already at or near capacity. The Trump administration is trying to line up thousands more beds at military bases.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt told reporters he was “both pleased and disappointed” with the government’s progress toward meeting the deadline.

“Tomorrow there will hopefully be more than 50 babies and toddlers reunited with their parents, and that is obviously an enormous victory,” he said. But he said those who remain split from their parents are “in for a long process.”

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered both sides back in court on Tuesday to give another update.

The ACLU was drawing up a proposal to shorten the wait for the remaining children. Gelernt said some procedures — such as DNA testing, fingerprinting and requests for other information — were designed for releasing children to distant relatives, not to parents.

More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by U.S. immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an international outcry and said families should remain together.

Late last month, Sabraw, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, set a 14-day deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents, and a 30-day deadline for older children. The 30-day deadline is up July 26.

Monday’s hearing set the stage for a dramatic day of reunifications on Tuesday across the country, though they are likely to occur largely outside public view. Fabian did not disclose where the reunions would take place.

As for most of the rest of the under-5 children who have yet to reunited with their families, Fabian said that their parents have already been released into the U.S., have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.

One child has not been matched with a parent, Fabian said. The ACLU identified him as a 3-year-old boy.

The hearing followed a feverish weekend of talks between the administration and the ACLU after the judge refused on Friday to grant a blanket extension to the deadline, saying instead that he would only consider certain exceptions.

 

Republished with written permission from Voice Of America

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Israel says it has conducted ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas

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Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip Friday after shots were fired at troops on the border, the army said, with Hamas reporting three members of its military wing killed.

An army statement said shots were fired at troops during renewed protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier and “in response, (Israeli) aircraft and tanks targeted military targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”

The IDF says its warplanes have carried out ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to the earlier gunfire.

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US Secretary of State Pompeo demands “full enforcement of sanctions” on North Korea

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told United Nations Security Council envoys on Friday that there needs to be “concrete actions” by North Korea before an easing of sanctions on Pyongyang can be discussed, said Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom.

“The secretary made very clear we need concrete deeds, concrete actions and only then we can start the discussion,” van Oosterom told reporters after Pompeo informally briefed envoys from the 15-member council, Japan and South Korea behind closed doors at the South Korea U.N. mission.

(New York Times)

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Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model

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 President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.

The recording’s existence further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made. He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had directed Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, write a check, rather than sending cash, so it could be properly documented.

“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording as part of their review of the seized materials and shared it with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

“We have nothing to say on this matter,” Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, said when asked about the tape.

(New York Times)

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