And today the government revealed that for one child, they don't even have a parent's name, much less make contact.
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A government lawyer said on Monday (Tuesday NZT) at least 54 children under the age of 5 would join their parents by a court-ordered deadline, only about half the 100 or so children covered by the order. The attorneys and judge did say, though, that they hoped the work that had gone into identifying the children under 5 and what is needed to reunite them with parents will help when it comes to the older group.
In court filings, the ACLU has said the government is asking for needless provisions for reuniting families that would not happen if the families had not been separated in the first place.
Under normal circumstances the government said it would perform extensive checks on all those in the household where an illegal immigrant child being released from federal custody would end up.
There are less than 3,000 undocumented immigrant children now in federal custody. The Trump administration was working on final background checks for another five children ahead of Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) deadline.
Some parents now ineligible for reunification could be eligible later, including one in ICE custody who is being treated for a communicable disease and 10 in criminal custody with either the U.S. Marshals Service or state or county law enforcement.
"Let me be clear, HHS could have transferred every child in HHS care to a parent if we did not take into account child safety", Meekins said.
A federal judge told the Trump administration on Tuesday to lay off using some of its most stringent vetting procedures before reuniting families separated at the border.
I've talked with one family, a four and 10-year-old boy who were separated for months. She said locations would not be publicly disclosed, but children have been sent to shelters across the country.
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 judge ordered the attorneys to file more thoughts by Monday evening on the timelines and procedures for reuniting those parents who will not rejoin their children Tuesday, and the court will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to discuss the issue further.
And if they continue to drag on, what would you ask the judge to do in that instance?
Despite the progress over the weekend, a number of questions remained Monday.
Federal officials said they are reunifying as many children as they can and attributed delays to "legitimate logistical impediments" that make it "impossible or excusable" to meet the court's deadlines.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores had no comment on the discrepancies in the numbers. One area of disagreement is DNA testing on parents and children, with the government saying it should be the general rule and the ACLU saying it should be done only when no other evidence is available to prove parentage.
Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, said in court that the government had taken "significant steps" to reunite families but should be moving more quickly.
I don't anticipate them dragging on.