USA claims all eligible migrant toddlers reunited with parents


In Grand Rapids, Mich., two boys and a girl who had been in temporary foster care were reunited with their Honduran fathers at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center about three months after they were split up.

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On Thursday, two days after its original deadline, the Trump administration announced that it has complied with the first part of a court order to return the almost 3,000 migrant children separated from their parents in recent months. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw subsequently declined to issue an extension, demanding instead that government lawyers return to court to explain why they would be unable to reunite the remaining children with their families by July 10.

Of the 46 children, 23 of them are ineligible because their parents have either been deported or are in the custody of the USA government.

Fifty-seven children were reunited with their parents as of Thursday morning, administration officials said.

A majority of migrant children age five and under who were detained under the USA immigration "zero-tolerance" policy have been reunited with their families.

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.

Sabraw made clear during a court hearing Tuesday that his deadlines were firm, and he raised the possibility of punishment for the government if those children were not reunited by the deadline "or within the immediate proximity" of it.

Another 24 children were not returned because the parents are in criminal custody in the United States or have been deported. The government has said only 3 of the children had accompanying adults that were found to not be their parents.

Still other parents still have yet to undergo DNA testing to match them to their purported children.

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The 46 children will remain in the care of Health and Human Services, which will continue to seek to place them with a sponsor, such as other family members or even foster care, as it does for the more than 10,000 other minors who arrived in the USA without a relative.

This week, families who have been reunified have been released from federal custody, given ankle monitors and ordered to appear back in court for their immigration proceedings.

"Our process may not be as quick as some might like, but there is no question that it is protecting children", Meekins, chief of staff of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, said in a conference call with reporters.

The U.S. Health and Human Services patted themselves on the back, despite their failure to reunite the 102 young children by the deadline.

He said he was still shaken by the ordeal he had to go through just to speak to his boy while he was in government custody from February. The ACLU contends that there may be more separated children that the government has not counted.

Sabraw indicated more time would be allowed only in specific cases where the government showed good reasons for a delay.

The government defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories and one case of credible child abuse.

Albence, though, maintained that all of those parents agreed to be deported without their child. Its explanation: "1 child can not be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year". They will be set free in the USA pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years. Sabraw has given the government until July 26 to reunite the older children with their parents as well.

And activists, for their part, have described a "bureaucratic wall" that has prevented detained parents from finding and contacting their children.

PHOENIX- The federal government fell well short of the first deadline to reunify young migrant children with their families. The rest of the children have been deemed ineligible for immediate reunification.