Trump Administration Seeks More Time To Reunify Migrant Families

HHS using DNA testing in order to reunite migrant families 'faster'

Previously, Azar had told a Senate committee that his department had 2,047 children remaining in their care.

The government said it is willing to propose an alternative timeline.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego, Calif., ordered the government to return children under the age of 5 to their parents by next Tuesday.

Officials said about 40 parents of the 101 children under age 5 are in federal immigration custody, while another nine are in U.S. Marshal's custody, apparently for criminal proceedings.

Azar said on Thursday that HHS "will comply with the artificial deadlines created by the court", but that federal officials are focusing for now on confirming family matches prior to reunification.

Another 12 cases need more assessment, Mr.

The government is scrambling to reunite as many as 3,000 children with their parents. Trump administration officials have been assailed in public by angry protestors.

But about 20% of the kids, she said, have parents who were released from ICE custody. "Many of the key witnesses will likely be moved in the coming days and weeks with no assurances as to their well-being or whereabouts, and continued chaos is inevitable", their motion says. The agency is now reviewing the cases of all 11,800 children in its custody to determine whether they were separated from caregivers.

Another complicating factor, he said, is that some children being held by immigration officials may not qualify for immediate reunification under the court's order because they became separated from their parents during their journey and not by border agents after their entry into the United States.

According to The Associated Press, after a two-hour hearing, the judge put the request off until at least Monday, meanwhile ordering the Justice Department to share with the American Civil Liberties Union a list of the 101 children under 5 who are separated from their parents. In those cases, protections are needed to make sure children are not handed over to adults seeking to exploit them. He said he doesn't know of any child advocacy group that believes ORR should go through those lengthy procedures in this situation. "You've taken a child from the parent". And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

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The deadline for the list is on Saturday and US officials are expected to reunite the first round of migrant children by July 10th.

He wrote in the ruling that the family separations were "a chaotic circumstance of the Government's own making" and "belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution". Some parents were deported without their children, making reunification all the more hard.

"The government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunifications or burden class members". Now, in order to reunify families, HHS is conducting DNA tests to verify family relationships. "The government is saying DNA every single person".

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters "under 3,000" children are now under HHS care, including about 100 under the age of 5.

Logistically, that's "not the easiest task", Azar said.

The secretary repeated slammed the court system for its deadlines and called the order 'unprecedented'. Of those 86 parents, 46 are in immigration detention facilities, 19 have been released from the custody of US Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and 19 have already been deported.

A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration's argument that it shouldn't have to reunite children with parents who have been deported.

The government also said it wanted to assure that parents could provide for the child's physical and mental well-being.

"The safety and security is paramount and that it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked or smuggled by those claiming to be parents".

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