US government says 57 migrant kids under 5 reunited with parents

US government says 57 migrant kids under 5 reunited with parents

Since the government first came under pressure to ease its policy on separations weeks ago, it has shifted its estimates of the number of children it would reunite.

Donald Trump's administration said those youngsters - who represent 50% of the under-fives in custody - had been separated from parents who were violent criminals, or adults who were not their parents at all. If those parents were able to prove a familial bond with their child using a birth certificate or official documentation, they argued, there should be no hold-up in the reunification process. "Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families". He asked the government to return to court Friday to give an update on how many families had been reunited.

The ACLU's Gelernt said the government is not even close to reuniting all the children under 5 with their parents, including 12 adults who were deported without their children.

Eleven adults were either in the custody of the U.S. Marshals "for other offenses" (9) or in the the custody of state jails (2).

Staff members at a nonprofit organization that has been housing numerous youngest children 'made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye, ' Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said. That's more than can be said of the almost 2,000 separated children who are still in custody. "The July 26 deadline might make sense in other circumstances, but not this one".

Through DNA testing, five adults who claimed to have children were determined not to be their parents, according to the government.

One adult planned to house a child with an adult charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

The administration additionally lost in an attempt to overturn a 1997 court precedent that says minors can not be held for more than 20 days.

Children cover their faces as they are escorted to the Cayuga Center, which provides foster care and other services to immigrant children separated from their families, in New York City, U.S., July 10, 2018. Children spend an average of 57 days in shelters before they're placed with a sponsor.

The policy that triggered the separations was clear enough: prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally, which meant taking away the kids, who can not be put in criminal detention with adults. The move caused an global uproar.

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Those separations occurred between early May and June 20 when Trump signed an executive order halting them. The California judge in the case had ordered those children reunited by Tuesday.

And activists, for their part, have described a "bureaucratic wall" that has prevented detained parents from finding and contacting their children.

"Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children", said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official.

Immigrant parents who reveled after joyful reunions with their young children spoke Wednesday of the traumatic impact of being separated from their sons and daughters for months after they were taken from them at the US border.

Mr Sabraw showed little appetite for giving more time to the government unless it could show good reasons in specific cases.

The Trump administration was working on final background checks for another five children ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

The government pays for DNA and screening fees, officials said.

Another 2,000 to 3,000 migrant children ages five to 17 must be reunited by 26 July, a United States judge has ordered.

The judge had acknowledged in court Tuesday that after further investigation some parents may not fall within the class of those eligible for reunification with children at this point, but he reiterated to the Justice Department that the timetables he had ordered for reunifying families were "firm deadlines, not aspirational goals".

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