Government won't meet Tuesday deadline to reunite separated parents, children

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families

Sarah Fabian, a Justice Department lawyer, said that as of this weekend, there were 102 children under five who were still in government custody and separated from their parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the immigrant families, said it had heard of as many as 10 children under age 5 who were not on the government's list and was gathering more information.

The order gives the government until July 10 to reunify children under 5 with their parents, and until July 26 for older children. The official could not say whether this testing requires the consent of the children and parents or if the government planned to store the DNA in a database.

DNA cheek swab tests on parent and child take almost a week to complete, said White, who called the risk of placing children with adults who aren't their parents "a real and significant child welfare concern".

The organization and government agreed the locations of the releases would not be disclosed, and the government agreed to work with immigration advocates to ensure the parents had money for a hotel and other necessities.

But more than 45 young children will remain in government custody away from family, including nine children whose parent was already deported, nine whose parent was released into the USA and 12 whose parent is in criminal custody. Older minors must be reunified with their parents by July 26.

Lawyers with the ACLU and the DOJ met with Judge Dana Sabraw on Saturday to discuss the 100 children under the age of five, NBC News reports.

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"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.

Because ICE has not yet built detention centers suitable to hold young children, Fabian told the court on Monday, the reunited families will be set free on supervised released while they pursue their asylum claims.

As many as 3,000 children remain separated from their parents, according to new estimates by HHS.

"It may well be that once the plaintiffs know what the reason is and what groups [of parents] it applies to, they'll agree that a more relaxed date can apply to a certain group", Sabraw said at the conclusion of a lengthy conference. In a Thursday filing, the administration said it was trying to meet the deadlines but "in some instances it will not be able to complete the additional processes within the timelines the Court prescribed, particularly with regard to class members who are already not in Government custody, (e.g., because they have previously been paroled or released)". "At the same time, however, the Government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child".

But a number of bureaucratic hurdles have complicated the efforts to place those children back with their parents. While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department.

Sabraw, the federal judge in California, had ordered that federal officials provide detained immigrant parents with a way to contact their kids by Friday.