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US says all eligible youngest children, families reunited

US says all eligible youngest children, families reunited”

There are an estimated 102 migrant children under five in federal custody, with a limited number of cases not qualifying for reunification due to the parents' criminal background or signs of child abuse. Officials said 11 adults had serious criminal histories, including child cruelty, murder or human smuggling.

On Monday (Tuesday NZT), a federal judge in Los Angeles rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families in long-term facilities, calling it a "cynical attempt to undo a longstanding court settlement".

Sabraw ordered that children under five years of age rejoin their parents by a July 10 deadline.

Abril Valdez of the ACLU of MI said the government was "vague" on the time and place of the reunifications that could come on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) for two Honduran men he represents.

The families that have been reunited were also released from detention while they undergo immigration proceedings, which could ultimately lead to them being deported, so long as they do not commit crimes and do attend court hearings and meetings with immigration agents.

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.

"Each step of our process is necessary to protect children", HHS official Chris Meekins, chief of staff in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, told reporters on a press call. Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be US citizens.

In trying to meet the first deadline, the government began with a list of 102 children potentially eligible to be reunited and whittled that to 75 through screening that included DNA testing done by swabbing the inside of the cheek. The families will then be released, according to the Justice Department lawyer.

Of those 75, Justice Department attorneys told the court the government already reunited four children and would guarantee 34 others would be back with their parents by the end of Tuesday.

Of the 103 infants and toddlers in government care, the administration said it had identified just 57 who were eligible for reunions.

More than 2000 children were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before US President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry.

Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the US-Mexico border, at a news conference in July in NY.

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.

"These are firm deadlines, not aspirational goals", the judge said.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of a woman who was separated from her child.

Sabraw on Tuesday told the government to stop fingerprinting and vetting every adult sharing a household with parents who'd been separated from their children, a new procedure that immigration advocates argue creates a disincentive for reunification - undocumented people are understandably wary of handing their fingerprints over to DHS, which houses Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Pressed on whether his "solution" was to punish children for being brought to the United States illegally by adults, Trump retreated to more general comments.

The government last week asked for more time to complete the reunification because it claimed it needed more time to ensure the children's safety and to confirm their parental relationships.



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