Trump administration: eligible immigrant children reunited with parents - but many considered ineligible

Trump administration: eligible immigrant children reunited with parents - but many considered ineligible

The second case involves a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador who crossed the U.S. -Mexico border in May with her mother.

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The judge in June ordered the government to reunite by Tuesday the youngest children separated from their parents and all children by July 26. Immigration attorneys say they already are seeing barriers to those reunifications from a backlog in the processing of fingerprinting of parents to families unable to afford the airfare to fly the child to them - which could run as high as $1,000. Another five families will likely be reunited after Tuesday, once the background check process is completed. Because parents can't take their children to jail, they were separated.

ACLU lawyers have protested that federal officials were taking too long to find the parents who were deported and dragging out the vetting process of parents still in the United States by requiring home checks or DNA testing for adults who were clearly the children's parents.

At least nine will not be reunited by the deadline because their parents were deported without them.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the parents in a class-action lawsuit, said US officials "have not even tried" to return 12 children to parents who were deported, and said officials should have more quickly found eight parents who have been released in the United States. Eleven children's parents were also in custody for other alleged criminal offenses.

The separations - which also involve somewhere under 3,000 older children - have sparked worldwide outrage and considerable confusion.

A different judge, in Los Angeles, on Monday dismissed as "dubious" and "unconvincing" the U.S. Justice Department's proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children can not be held in detention for long periods, irrespective of whether they're with their families. She said the government said one would be reunited sometime Wednesday.

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"Things have taken a real step forward", Gelernt said.

The remaining 46 children were deemed "ineligible" due to multiple concerns over their guardians, including 11 adults with a serious criminal history like charges or convictions for murder, child cruelty, smuggling or domestic violence.

The US president has been under intense pressure to reunite almost 3,000 children with their families. The government initially identified 102 children who fell in that category, but the number has slightly decreased in recent days, as Sabraw's order has essentially functioned as a judicially mandated audit of the morass of systems used by different federal agencies. Reporters on the ground have reported that there seemed to be no plan to track where different parts of families were being sent so that they could eventually be reunited.

On that front, the judge has noted "there is a lot of work to do" on the older group of children and has ordered the Justice Department to provide an update Thursday on how many need to be reunited with parents. Sabraw has given the government until July 26 to reunite the older children with their parents as well.

A court ruled earlier this week that the administration cannot detain immigrant families long-term, upholding a 20-day time limit a child can be held in custody, and casting into doubt the future of Trump's immigration agenda. The children were "absolutely thrilled to be with their parents again". "I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow, and that we'll have a very clear understanding as to who has not been reunited, why not, and what timeframe will be in place".

The government has pushed back on the idea that screenings should be streamlined, although officials said they will comply with the judge's order.

The remaining 46 were acknowledged by the District Court for the Southern District of California as being ineligible for reunification, as determined by HHS, Homeland Security and the Justice Department, under court-approved criteria.

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