Facing pressure to expedite the reunion of migrant families separated at the border, the Trump administration is expected to announce on Thursday that it will streamline the process, the New York Times reports. The government will stop requiring a litany of steps before a child can be released from a shelter, said the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued the government over family separations. To speed the reunions, the government will no longer insist on fingerprinting all adults in a household where a child will live, or require home visits by a social worker. Authorities will release children to a parent once a familial tie has been established, provided the parent or guardian does not have a criminal record.
A federal judge pressed for faster reunifications on Tuesday, when the government said it would miss a court’s deadline of returning at least half of the 102 children under 5 years old to a parent by that day. Federal Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego asked the ACLU to track the administration’s progress on that deadline and a second set for July 26 to reunite nearly 3,000 more children. Administration officials said that all eligible children would be handed over to a parent by Thursday. The children were separated from their parents under a zero-tolerance border enforcement program that resulted in the criminal prosecutions of their parents for illegal entry. The children were removed from their parents, with whom they had crossed the border, and placed in dozens of government-licensed shelters and foster care homes while their parents remained in detention.