Trump administration reunites 57 immigrant children with parents after missing court deadline

Less Than Half of The Separated Immigrant Toddlers Will be Reunited By Tomorrow's Deadline

A Guatemalan man said his 6-year-old son feared he was dead after US authorities separated the pair in May in El Paso, Texas.

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A day after dozens of parents were reunited with children who had been separated at the U.S. -Mexico border by immigration officials, the U.S. government faces a looming deadline to match another roughly 2,000 children with parents.

Sabraw has set a final deadline for the government to reunite the 2,000 children who remain in custody with their parents: July 26.

In one case, the ACLU said, immigration officials reunited a mother with her six-month-old daughter then dropped them alone at bus stop late at night.

It was the largest single effort to date to undo the effects of President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy of separating families who try to slip across the Mexican border into the U.S. Fabian said two of those children have already been reunited, and another 54 will be reunited by Tuesday. In doing so, the government declared its efforts to reunite "eligible children" in that age group complete. That's only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order, although several are ineligible for immediate reunification due to their parents' criminal history or uncertainty surrounding parenthood status.

Another 24 children were not returned because the parents are in criminal custody in the United States or have been deported.

Gisela, a Mexican citizen, said she only spoke to her son once while she was detained in Texas and he was at a shelter for children in Phoenix.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a joint statement that the 57 reunifications show that the government is in full compliance with Sabraw's order.

Most of the illegal immigrants try to enter the USA through Mexico to escape gang violence and the lack of opportunities for a better life at home.

"Our process may not be as quick as some might like, but there is no question that it is protecting children", Meekins, chief of staff of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, said in a conference call with reporters.

A different judge, in Los Angeles, on Monday dismissed as "dubious" and "unconvincing" the U.S. Justice Department's proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children can not be held in detention for long periods, irrespective of whether they're with their families. "And so the government says the tension is between a fast release and a safe release". 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.

These include seven adults who were found not to be the child's parent, one adult who was alleged to have abused the child, one adult who was allegedly planning to house the child with a suspected child sex offender, and 11 adults who have a serious criminal history such as kidnapping, murder, or domestic violence. Eleven others are either in custody for other unspecified offenses, while the last adult's whereabouts are unknown. "Our position is the court has the authority to order the release of the parents in this case and reunify them with their children". "If they want their children to return to them", working with a consul will "help facilitate that".

The move fell short of a judge's order to reunite 63 of 102 young children by the end of Tuesday.

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. In fact, he has stated that "the families were improperly separated" in the first place. Its explanation: "1 child can not be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year".

In a court hearing later on Tuesday, the administration gave additional details on the 51 children eligible for reunification, who had not yet been united with their families.

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