Trump admin won't meet deadline to reunite separated families

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

Necessary steps in resolving the fate of thousands of children being held captive by the US will be delayed at least another couple of days because a government attorney has dog-sitting responsibilities out of state and can't attend a weekend court status conference.

And officials have repeatedly declined to respond to questions about how many families have been reunited.

The judge in that case has ordered that children under age 5 be reunited with their parents by Tuesday, and that all minors separated from their parents be reunited by July 26.

Forcing families that have already suffered the huge trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday.

The ACLU brought the initial lawsuit forcing the reunion of separated immigrant families. The case includes a broader group of thousands of other children and parents, but the hearing focused largely on the pressing deadline for the children under 5.

"To our knowledge, this is a cheek swab and is being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns", one official told CNN. Sixteen children had not been matched, and it remained unclear if they crossed with their parents, she said. Its database has some information about the children's parents but wasn't created to reunify families under the court's deadline. The agency also has about 100 "reunification case managers" and 40 additional staff members working to reunite kids, according to court filings.

Parents already released into the US should be reunited with their children within 48 hours of the government contacting them, or within a week for parents already deported, he suggested.

Amid an worldwide outcry, Donald Trump reversed course on 20 June and said families should remain together. Fabian said another 12 have parents in state or federal prison. Children five and older must be reunited within 30 days.

Before the court hearing, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said that a judge can impose sanctions, usually fines, for failure to meet a deadline but that the organization is not pressing for that at this time. The administration has been given until July 10 to reunite separated children under 5 years old with their parents.

On Thursday, a leading House Republican and Democrat teamed-up to request from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen documents and other information about each child separated from their parents, including where they are being detained and for how long. In a statement, an administration official said its priority was "to ensure the safety of the children in its custody". He also said that adults can not be deported from the United States without their children.

But a number of bureaucratic hurdles have complicated the efforts to place those children back with their parents.

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