Parents can’t be found for 545 children separated by US border policy

The parents of 545 migrant children who were separated under US border policy cannot be located, a court filing and US rights group revealed Tuesday.

The separations were carried out in relation to US President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy toward migrants who illegally crossed the border.

“Through our litigation, we just reported to the court that the parents of 545 kids — forcibly separated by the Trump administration’s cruel family separation practice — still cannot be found,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

Under the zero tolerance program, the US began separating children from their parents in May 2018, prompting a domestic and international outcry.

Then, six weeks into the practice Trump announced that his administration would stop separating families unless the parents posed “a risk” to their child.

Two-thirds of the parents who cannot be found are believed to have been deported, according to a court document posted online by CNN.

According to NBC News, the children whose mothers and fathers have yet to be located were separated under a 2017 pilot program ahead of the zero tolerance policy, and were deported.

“It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project told NBC.

“There is so much more work to be done to find these families.”

The global coronavirus pandemic briefly hampered a search for the children’s parents, but has now resumed.

“Following a suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited physical on-the-ground searches for separated parents has now resumed where possible to do so,” the court filing said.

A 2018 court order mandated that the government reunite the separated families.

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U.S.-Canada border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month as cases rise

The U.S.-Canadian border will remain closed to non-essential travel until late November as the U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any other country in the world. 

The ban on non-essential travel was put in place in March and has been extended every month since then. 


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On Monday, Canada’s public safety minister announced the earliest the border will reopen is now Nov. 21 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The closure was set to expire on Oct. 21. 

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until November 21, 2020. Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Canadian Emergency Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet Monday. 

The restrictions do not apply to essential workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers. Americans and Canadians returning to their countries are also exempted from the border closure. 

The move comes as many parts of the U.S. are experiencing surges in coronavirus cases, prompting fears about a devastating second wave of infections going into flu season and the colder months. The U.S. reported more than 70,000 new infections on Friday, making it the highest single-day increase for the country since late July. 

Canada was able to largely flatten the curve over the summer,  but has been experiencing a rise in new daily cases since the end of August. 

As of Monday, the U.S. confirmed more than 8 million coronavirus cases and nearly 220,000 deaths. Canada has recorded nearly 210,000 cases and just under 10,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


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Restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended into November, outbreak hits three Ontario hospitals

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Canada-U.S.border restrictions extended

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, announced Monday the non-essential travel restrictions between the Canada-U.S. border will remain until Nov. 21.

“Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair’s tweet reads.

Traditional trick-or-treating not recommended in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York Region

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, issued a statement on Monday indicating that “traditional door-to-door trick or treating is not recommended” in cities in modified Stage 2 restrictions – Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York Region.

In the statement, Dr. Williams states this is due to the “high transmission” of COVID-19 in these areas.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health recommends “alternative” was to celebrate Halloween in these regions, which include:

  • Encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties

  • Organizing a Halloween candy hunt with people living in their own household

  • Carving pumpkins

  • Having a movie night or sharing scary stories

  • Decorating front lawns

“It is recommended that you also check with your local municipality or public health unit for any additional advice or restrictions that may be in place,” the statement reads. “It is also critical that families not travel outside of their neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween.”

In order to have a “safe and happy Halloween” in Ontario, Dr. Williams stressed that Ontarios need to avoid gathering with people outside of their household, stay home if feeling at all ill.

For people living outside of the modified Stage 2 regions, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health outlined a number of rules to follow for trick-or-treating.

  • Only go out with members of your household

  • Only trick or treat outside

  • Both trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering and a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering but also should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe

  • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting

  • Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects

  • Whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer

  • Do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab and consider using tongs or similar tools to hand out treats

CASES AND OUTBREAKS

Three Toronto hospitals report COVID-19 outbreak

Three Toronto hospitals are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks as confirmed cases in the city continue to rise.

UHN has confirmed that as of Oct. 16,

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