Judge Says US Must Reunite Migrant Families or Face Penalties

Trump admin releases names of children under 5 separated at border

There is one child who can't be reunited because the government doesn't know who his parents are, Gelernt said.

So far, the government has reunited four of the children in its custody, and expects to reunite another 34 by Tuesday's deadline.

'Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children, ' said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official helping to direct the process. They come amid a tide of national and global outrage over such young children being taken from their parents.

Abril Valdes, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan told the Associated Press that two young boys and a girl were among those reunited Tuesday with their families at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously, families were in most cases held together. In the courtroom, they expressed openness to collaborating on several issues, including searching for parents who have been removed from the US and double-checking the criminal records. These parents have, according to DHS officials, been fitted with electronic monitoring bracelets and released into the United States because they brought children with them, illegally, across the US border.

The decision came after a government lawyer said around half of the 102 young children could be placed back with their parents by the previously given deadline of Tuesday.

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.

Last month, Sabraw granted a preliminary injunction as part of a class- action lawsuit requiring the reunification of children separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" crackdown on illegal border crossings. She said locations would not be publicly disclosed, but children have been sent to shelters across the country.

"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.

"The kids are all over the country", ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said.

Federal officials said in court records filed Tuesday that 38 of the 102 children under age 5 separated from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico will have been reunited by Tuesday's deadline. "They want to punish these families who are here and deter others from coming". On Monday, advocates for immigrants said there has been an outpouring of support nationwide for the soon-to-be reunited families, including offers of places to stay and money to resettle in the United States as they await deportation hearings. "We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the so-called "zero tolerance" policy, and once and for all we must end family detention". According to government attorneys, nine have parents who have already been deported, while an additional nine have parents that have been released from government custody in the United States.

"My take on this whole situation is we're not done yet", she said. A longtime court settlement says children who cross the border illegally can not be detained for more than 20 days.

The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two children under five who meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday. 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.

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