Trump Administration Seeks More Time to Reunite Families Separated at Border

Unaccompanied minors are seen at a facility in Bristow Virginia on June 21. 

On Thursday, the government told the court it would likely need more time because it was still conducting DNA tests to match parents and children and conducting screenings to make sure it was safe to release the kids.

On Friday, Fabian said in court that 19 children under age 5 in government custody had a parent who was already deported.

Children under the age of 5 must be reunited with their parents within 14 days, and the administration has 30 days to reunite children forcibly separated after arriving at the southern border with their parents.

"It is very troubling that there are children and parents who are not in some kind of government tracking system", he said after the court hearing.

However, she added, "There are some groups for which the reunification process is more hard".

The government says the reunification process is going faster for parents now in ICE custody than those who have been released.

She said the government was still working to do background checks and confirm the relationships between the adults and children in its custody.

It's been more than a week since they released a tally of how many kids from separated families remain in government custody.

The judge directed the government to file a detailed accounting of the reunification process and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday at 11 a.m. PDT (1800 GMT).

Sabraw had mandated that the government reunite children younger than five with their parents on June 26. "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".

The American Civil Liberties Union received the list of the names of the almost 100 children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the border, according to a group spokesman. Yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar complained of the rush to review the cases of the nearly 3,000 child detainees to meet the court-imposed deadline.

About 46 parents are in immigration custody, 19 were deported and 19 were released.

The motion includes hundreds of pages of sworn declarations from migrant parents and their advocates detailing alleged experiences that mothers, fathers and children have endured while trying to seek asylum in the United States.

Another plaintiff - a Honduran man who crossed the border last month - recently learned that his 12-year-old daughter is housed a 20-minute drive away from him near Los Fresnos, Texas, but federal officials have not allowed them to visit each other.

In preparation for the reunions, many detained parents have been transferred to ICE facilities closer to the HHS facilities where their children have been held post-separation.

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". Apprehensions of illegal border crossers slumped in June, as they typically do in the hot summer months, though at more than 42,000, the monthly tally is almost double what it was in June 2017.

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