Majority of Immigrant Toddlers Reunified With Parents, Trump Administration Says

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

Lawyers said the fathers were too distraught to speak to the news media.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parents". Physicians and others blasted the policy and warned about lasting psychological damage to children and parents. They will be set free in the U.S. pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal court on Thursday to require the Trump administration to hand over information about the detained migrant children under the age of 5 who have not yet been reunited with their parents.

"Trying to find out", said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney wrote in an email when asked if all 60 separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration were back with their parents or guardians. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has predicted the tough immigration stance will discourage people from illegally entering the country.

"If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families", he said.

"(Government officials) claimed that they would provide Plaintiffs' counsel with notice of the time and place for each reunification, so that Plaintiffs' counsel could arrange for private and (non-governmental organization) service providers to assist the families and verify reunification", Gelernt wrote.

Earlier this week, government attorneys told Sabraw that the Trump administration would not meet the deadline for about 20 children under 5 because it needed more time to track down parents who have already been deported or released into the U.S.

On Tuesday morning, staff members at a private firm that has been detaining numerous youngest children "made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye", Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said.

A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in an email to CBS News that the child's parent is not now in ICE custody.

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Immigration officials have said the process was slowed by background checks, and in Thursday's court papers said it identified one parent with a warrant for murder in Guatemala and others with suspected human trafficking violations.

A civil rights group asked a federal judge on Thursday to order the US government to provide mental health counseling for the around 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents by officials at the U.S.

Late last month, Sabraw, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, set a 14-day deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents and a 30-day deadline for older children. "They're not aspirational goals".

The Justice Department also said that only 75 of the 102 children aged four and younger who were supposed to be returned to their parents by Tuesday are eligible for reunification.

He ordered both sides back in court on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) to give another update and for him rule on differences over protocols to follow when reuniting the remaining children.

Such testing, they said, is usually reserved for circumstances in which there are questions about the relationship between the parent and child.

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 human services department on July 10 said records showed the parent and child "might be us citizens". "Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be US citizens". But only 56 out of about 85 children under five who are eligible for reunification will have been reunited with their parents by the Tuesday deadline.

With no other apparent plans in motion for how to receive the waves of migrants fleeing Central America, the Trump administration appears to have turned to the very same practice the president has blamed for the status quo. That federal agency has custody of parents caught crossing the border illegally, while the children are held in foster care or shelters overseen by Health and Human Services.

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