Officials said 46 of the children were not eligible to be reunited with their parents; a dozen parents had already been deported and were being contacted by the administration. Speaking outside the White House before flying to Europe, Trump said: "Well, I have a solution".
The government defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories and one case of credible child abuse. Nine adults are in federal custody for other offenses, two are in state jails for other offenses and the location of one adult believed to be the parent of a separated child has been unknown for more than a year. "Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families. The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly".
Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.
According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the children last week in U.S. District Court in New Haven, J.S.R.is a 9-year-old boy from Honduras.
The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite perhaps 2,000 or so older children with their families. A spokesperson for the agency said it could not provide more details about what indication there is that this child and parent may be US citizens, how the child came to be in federal custody or where the child is now sheltered. It now appears as if the Trump administration will clearly miss this deadline by a wide margin. "Accordingly, by the end of the day we will decide what remedies to recommend to the court for the non-compliance", Gelernt said.
Amna Nawaz talked with Lee Gelernt of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project on Tuesday when the government didn't meet its first court-imposed deadline on reunification. They could potentially argue that the United States government violated their constitutional rights.
Sabraw, appointed in 2003 by President George W. Bush, had ordered officials to provide an update on their progress on Thursday and scheduled a hearing Friday afternoon to discuss the deadlines and other issues. "Establishing the immigration system demanded of our political leaders by the American people for more than 30 years - one that serves the national interest - will allow our nation to further realize the foundation of freedom, safety, and prosperity we inherited from our founders".
"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.
Sabraw's June 26 order contained exceptions for parents deemed unfit or a danger to their children.
In a court hearing on Tuesday, Sabraw said he wouldn't extend the reunification deadline and that 63 other families should be reunited soon after Tuesday, The Huffington Post reported. He said the government has not told him how many children have been reunified with parents.
The three fathers were "just holding them and hugging them and telling them that everything was fine and that they were never going to be separated again", said immigration lawyer Abril Valdes.
As a result, he told the Trump administration, he expected that 63 children would be reunited with parents by Tuesday's deadline, a number that includes four who had been reunited beforehand. "We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the so-called "zero tolerance" policy, and once and for all we must end family detention". That's about two weeks away for "under 3,000" children age 5 to 17.
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