Trump administration reunites 57 immigrant children under 5, declares 'eligible' reunifications complete

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

A federal judge had given the government until the end of the day on Tuesday to reunite 63 of the 102 children under the age of five who were in government custody.

The administration said another 46 children under the age of five remain separated from their families because of safety concerns and other issues.

In 22 cases, the children were not reunited because adults posed safety concerns, including having criminal histories or adults determined to not be a parent.

The remaining 25 children could not be reunited due to the circumstances of their parents, including 12 adults who have already been deported and are being contacted, and nine adults who are in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offenses. The Department of Health and Human Services, which has custody of the minors, and the Department of Homeland Security, which has custody of most of the adults, said in joint statements that they reunited 57 children with their parents.

Lugging little backpacks, smiling immigrant children were scooped up into their parents' arms Tuesday as the Trump administration scrambled to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite dozens of youngsters forcibly separated from their families at the border. Justice Department attorneys have been under a 6 p.m. ET Thursday deadline to explain to Dana Sabraw, the USA district judge behind the court order, how they returned the eligible children - and why the rest are ineligible for return under the court's guidelines.

For almost one month Perez knew nothing about her children - "the longest, most torturous time of my life", she said.

The ACLU says they will not be seeking sanctions for the government not meeting the deadline, telling ABC News in a statement, "At this point, we think the most constructive way forward is that the Court continue to stay hands-on and keep the government moving forward". The government argued that the progress showed they were in compliance with the court order, even if the deadline was missed, but plaintiffs argued otherwise.

According to court filings, the Trump administration had reunited just four families by Tuesday afternoon and is expected to reunite 34 more by the end of Tuesday.

"Our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment".

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After announcing on June 20 that family separations would stop, the federal government said it will instead keep some families together in detention facilities.

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.

The parent and child were separated at a legal port of entry, said Matthew Albence, executive associate director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One immigration advocate told Reuters she was still awaiting details on when two under-five children would be back with their parents. Now, the lawsuit has spread into total reunification of all families separated at the border under Trump's zero-tolerance policy. The adults may be required to wear ankle monitors while their cases wind through immigration court, a process that can take years.

Jennye Mariel Pagoada Lopez, 24, said one night she got so sick that a fellow detainee was forced to scream and wave at a security camera to get her help - but the officials who arrived still refused to get her to a doctor, despite her heavy bleeding. The parent of one child has simply disappeared.

The government has pushed back on the idea that screenings should be streamlined, although officials said they will comply with the judge's order.

The ACLU also claimed that the administration has yet to share information on 23 people who the government said did not fit into the affected class of people they are working to reunite.

The announcement comes two days after a court-ordered deadline to return the youngest of the children.

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