Judge cites 'real progress' in reuniting migrant families

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They are among more than 2,300 children split up from their families as a outcome of the "zero tolerance" practice that saw their parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, even if they did so to seek asylum.

Looking for news you can trust? Federal agencies have until July 26 to return children 5 and older who are among the "under 3,000" taken from their parents.

At a court hearing, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian acknowledged the government wouldn't meet the deadline for all the children, citing a variety of reasons, including that the parents of some of the youngsters have already been deported.

Back in June, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction on the practice of family separation, and also stipulated that the remaining children aged 5 and over must be reunited by July 26.

Rodriguez said the commander running the shelter at Tornillo told him that none of the children there would be housed at Fort Bliss, one of two Texas military bases that the Pentagon has said will likely house thousands of immigrants who have been apprehended at the border.

"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", HHS Chief of Staff Chris Meekins, told reporters.

Mr. Gelernt, what did the court decide today about these children under five, who should be reunited with their families?

Some lawyers representing the separated children, who have been scattered into foster systems across the country, said the government was not telling them what would happen to their young clients. Fabian said another 12 have parents in state or federal prison.

The Justice Department has asked for more time to reunite parents - or to be excused from reuniting those who are deemed unfit - but Sabraw did not rule on that request Monday.

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A federal judge told the Trump administration on Tuesday to lay off using some of its most stringent vetting procedures before reuniting families separated at the border.

The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who was separated from her son after an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

And if they continue to drag on, what would you ask the judge to do in that instance?

About 40 other very young children will not be returned to their parents yet, despite a court-imposed deadline, because the Trump administration either has not finished matching them with their parents or has not cleared the parents to take custody.

Instead, he ordered both sides to provide a status report Monday night on the reunification procedures, and an update on numbers Tuesday morning. That child and his or her parent may be US citizens, according to the filing. Fabian said, arguing their hands are tied by logistics. But on Monday, she said nine were removed from the United States and an additional nine were released here.

The government has reportedly struggled to offer exact information about the number of children separated from their parents.

"Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours ... has taken significant steps", Gelernt said.

For the other parents, I think there just hasn't been enough of an effort made to locate the parent.

Sacchetti reported from Washington and Perry reported from San Diego.

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