Under-5 children who will remain separated for now include parents have already been released into the USA, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.
Catholic Charities, which helped place some of the children in shelter facilities after their separation, held a news briefing in NY at which a handful of the reunited parents expressed relief after weeks of anxiety over the separations. Nine were in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offences.
President Donald Trump spoke earlier on Tuesday about his administration's challenges with the reunifications, and said he had a solution.
Government attorneys returned to federal court in San Diego on Tuesday to seek an extension for releasing 20 other children under 5, saying officials need more time to track down parents who have already been deported or released into the U.S.
The administration said in a statement that 57 children were reunified as of Thursday morning.
"This is real progress, I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow", he told the courtroom. In a press call later Tuesday, HHS officials and officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggested that there was nothing stopping those parents from consulting with consulate authorities to find their children.
Late last month, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego set a 14-day deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents and a 30-day deadline for older children. Nine adults are in federal custody for other offenses, two are in state jails for other offenses and the location of one adult believed to be the parent of a separated child has been unknown for more than a year. The father held up his wrist and told reporters that after they were separated, he threatened to use a razor on himself if he couldn't speak to his son. One child has still not had either of its parents identified. Of that group, they said, 34 parents had undergone and passed criminal background checks and DNA verification.
One of them might be a child of a US citizen, the Justice Department acknowledged Tuesday when it notified a federal judge about the progress being made to complete more than 100 reunions. Throughout the reunification process, Sabraw has been strict on the government in his attempts to reunite the families.
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The government said 24 children are now not eligible to be reunited with parents "due to circumstances of the adults in question", 11 of whom are in criminal custody with either the U.S. Marshals Service or state jails.
More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an worldwide outcry. "I just want to say that whatever the court does, we are engaging in an exercise to uphold the law".
Tornillo, about 50 miles southeast of El Paso, now houses more than 350 immigrant minors, including 16 children who were separated from their parents after they were apprehended at the border, said Rodriguez, who toured the facility Friday along with state Rep. Lina Ortega.
Seven adults were determined not to be the parents of the child they entered with. But as government employees would soon realize, they had their work cut out for them.
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.
The government pays for DNA and screening fees, officials said.