More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by U.S. immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an worldwide outcry and said families should remain together.
Another 24 children were not eligible because parents were in custody for other criminal offences, officials were unable to locate them or they had already been deported back to their country of origin. According to HHS, the screening has saved children from being put in potentially unsafe situations, including with adults have charges or convictions for child cruelty, kidnapping, murder, human smuggling, or domestic violence.
Ten of the children were ineligible for family reunification because their parent was in the "custody of U.S. Marshals Service" or "state or county custody". "Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families".
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".
Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an worldwide outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.
Also on Thursday, the government will update Sabraw on the number of children that still must be reunited with and whether the government expects to meet the Jul 26 deadline.
Federal government says it needs more time to make reunifications happen for children in their care; Casey Stegall reports from Texas on the ongoing efforts. 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. "We will be recommending remedies for the non-compliance".
PHOENIX- The federal government fell well short of the first deadline to reunify young migrant children with their families. "Establishing the immigration system demanded of our political leaders by the American people for more than 30 years-one that serves the national interest-will allow our nation to further realize the foundation of freedom, safety, and prosperity we inherited from our Founders".
Government attorneys told a San Diego judge slightly over half of the children 54 of 102 represented by the ACLU and in Department of Health and Human Services custody will be reunited with their parents in ICE custody.
As daunting as the process appeared in court, this week's deadline concerns less than 5 percent of the children separated from their parents in recent months. But their priority is to see that families are reunited "in a manner that ensures the safety of the child"-which can take time". At Tuesday's hearing, he said the process is taking too long and needs to be "streamlined". "My only goal is to have them with me; to have my children and then I will rethink everything again".
Four have already been reunited with some family, while 34 others should be reunited by the end of the day, the government said.
For the others, the case outcomes remain unclear: Meekins said one adult has been charged with human smuggling, another faces domestic violence charges, one father has an outstanding drunken driving charge in Florida, and another adult is wanted for murder in Guatemala.
CNN has reached out to the agencies to ascertain why only 57 children were reported reunified as of Thursday morning when the judge ordered 63.
The struggle to track and match parents with children under five suggests meeting a Jul 26 deadline for reuniting the remaining older children could be fraught with problems.