Less than half of the 102 young children separated from their parents at the border are likely to be reunited by Tuesday's deadline, the American Civil Liberties Union said after the government's latest court filings.
He also questioned if the government's list of children under the age of 5 was accurate.
The deadline is July 10 for parents with children under 5 and July 26 for everyone else. "But I need more information".
Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services The family reunification process has so far been beset with complications.
It took a court order from Judge Sabraw to force the government to begin reuniting children with their parents. This had shortened the period for confirmations to a few days from a couple of weeks. "They need to give the child back".
By July 6, every parent must have a way to contact their child. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.
The news comes right after reports that the Trump administration lawyers could not locate 38 of the 100 young migrant children that were taken from their parents.
But the reunification efforts have been complicated by the fact that government records assigning "family identification numbers" to immigrant families were reportedly deleted.
"There are then some groups for whom the reunification process is more hard", lawyer Sarah Fabian told the judge. In those cases, she said, more time would be necessary to link parent and child. In a statement, an administration official said its priority was "to ensure the safety of the children in its custody".
Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, questioned the need for DNA testing and suggested that it should be used exclusively for the objective of reunification and then should be expunged. USA authorities confirmed through DNA testing on March 12 that the woman was the girl's mother and the two were reunited. When adults went for criminal prosecution for illegal entry into the USA, their kids were reclassified as if they came to the country without parents and put in government custody separately.
On Friday, lawyers acknowledged that "Although HHS is moving expeditiously to undertake these DNA tests, that process takes meaningful time, even when it is expedited-as this Court has implicitly recognized", the court documents said. But the government has worked to keep the locations of these facilities secret under a federal protective order, citing without evidence concerns about "smugglers and traffickers" targeting the children.
And how many kids from separated immigrant families are still in government custody?
Of the 101 children under 5, about half are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Sabraw also blocked the administration from deporting adults without their children unless the parent "affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily declines to be reunited with the child" prior to being expelled from the country.
Immigrant children under 5 will be returned to their families.
"Because the Flores Agreement does not require the release of parents, and Ms. L requires DHS to keep parents and children together when the parents are in detention, the rulings work together to permit detention of parents with their minor children with whom they are apprehended", the DOJ argued. All three parents in the D.C. lawsuit have spoken with their children, but the Honduran man was only able to speak with his daughter for the first time in almost a month on Tuesday.
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