USA says it reunifies 57 of 103 young migrants as deadline looms

USA says it reunifies 57 of 103 young migrants as deadline looms

U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S. -Mexico border, June 12, 2018, near Mission, Texas.

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As a result, he told the Trump administration, he expected that 63 children in total would be reunited with parents by Tuesday's deadline, a number that includes four who had been reunited beforehand.

The administration is facing an even more daunting court-ordered deadline to reunite about 2,000 older children with their parents by July 26.

In one case, the ACLU said, immigration officials reunited a mother with her six-month-old daughter then dropped them alone at bus stop late at night.

The group that brought the lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed its own deep skepticism of the administration announcement.

United States officials have failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of immigrant children with their families after they were forcibly separated at the southern border.

In Tuesday's filing, administration lawyers stated that a remaining 27 children were not eligible for reunification with a parent and were therefore not subject to the court-mandated reunification deadline.

At least one child being held in an immigrant detention center after being taken from their family may actually be a US citizen - and the government has lost track of their parents, court filings show. He asked the government to return to court Friday to give an update on how many families had been reunited. The government was holding 103 children under 5 years old who were separated from their parents, but Department of Justice lawyers have been negotiating with the judge to carve out exceptions. Another 24 were not reunified because their parent had been deported or was now in state or federal custody awaiting trial. And in one case, the government has lost track of a child's parent for more than a year. Eleven children's parents were also in custody for other alleged criminal offenses.

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"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", Chris Meekins of Health and Human Services Department said in the call.

The separations - which also involve somewhere under 3,000 older children - have sparked worldwide outrage and considerable confusion.

The administration said it could not return about half of those 46 children to their parents due to safety concerns.

The families that have already been unified have been released from detention on the condition that they attend immigration hearings and avoid criminal activity, according to Matthew Albence, a leading official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Advocates say many undocumented immigrants are unwilling to undergo government background checks for fear of alerting authorities to their presence in the United States. The ACLU contends that there may be more separated children that the government has not counted.

Sabraw's court in San Diego had ordered the government to take a streamlined approach to matching and vetting parents for reunification.

In 22 cases, the children were not reunited because adults posed safety concerns, including having criminal histories or adults determined to not be a parent. The parent of one child has simply disappeared.

The government is under pressure to reunite the children under a court order issued on June 26.

The government has until July 26 to reunite almost 2,800 other children, ages five through 17, now in its custody.

The ACLU asked for the government to provide a daily report of reunified families to the court starting next week and for additional details to prevent the government from missing future deadlines. "It's all confusing to them why there's so many people here and why there's so many strangers here, but they know that they're safe", Valdes said outside the ICE offices.

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