All ‘Eligible’ Separated Children Under 5 Are Back With Their Parents, Government Says

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Thursday of which the item had reunified all the migrant children under the age of a few the item determined were eligible to be returned to their parents, part of a court order to reunite the children who were separated via their families at the border.

Officials said of which 57 of the 103 children had been reunited with their families as of Thursday morning. yet another 46 children remain in government custody because they have been found ineligible to be returned to their families for various reasons.

The government said of which 22 of the children could not be placed back with their parents due to safety concerns — because the parents had criminal records or because the federal government determined of which the child was not related to the person they were with at the border.

Two dozen children could not be returned because the parent had been deported or was in jail or prison for various other offenses.

The reunifications came after a federal judge pressed for faster action on Tuesday, when the government said the item would certainly miss a court’s deadline of returning at least half of children under 5 years old to a parent by of which day.

Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Federal District Court of San Diego said of which deadline in addition to a second set for July 26 to reunite nearly 3,000 more children were “firm deadlines, not aspirational goals.”

He asked the A.C.L.U. to track the administration’s progress, in addition to suggested of which the government could face sanctions if the item failed to comply with the deadlines. The pace of reunions picked up Wednesday, in addition to administration officials said late from the day of which all the eligible children would certainly be handed over to a parent by Thursday.

“As ordered by the court, the government will have to abandon their lengthy reunification process in addition to switch to a process more appropriate for the situation,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U.

To speed up the reunions, the government said the item would certainly no longer insist on fingerprinting all adults in a household where a child would certainly live, or require home visits by a social worker.

Instead, the authorities will Discharge children to a parent once a familial tie has been established, provided the parent or guardian does not have a criminal record.

About 3,000 children were separated via their parents under a “zero-tolerance” border enforcement program of which resulted from the criminal prosecutions of their parents for illegal entry. The children were removed via their parents, with whom they had crossed the border, in addition to placed in dozens of government-licensed shelters in addition to foster care homes across the country while their parents remained in detention.

Most of the families say they are fleeing gang or domestic violence in Central America in addition to plan to seek asylum from the United States.

Last month President Trump ended the policy of separating families amid outcry via the public in addition to political leaders on both sides of the aisle. however his executive order on June 20 did not outline steps for reunification, leaving intact a series of requirements of which had to be met before a child could be released to a sponsor or parent.

Indeed, shortly before the government officially announced its zero-tolerance policy in May, the item issued a memorandum setting stringent fresh rules for vetting parents, relatives in addition to others who wished to recover a child via government custody.

Among various other things, the memo said of which the Department of Health in addition to Human Services, which can be responsible for the minors, must collect the name, date of birth, address, fingerprint in addition to identification of a potential sponsor, who might be the parent, in addition to of “all adult members from the potential sponsor’s household.” Administration officials said the measures were intended to protect the children via trafficking.

The A.C.L.U. argued in court of which the lengthy procedures were unnecessary, given of which the parents had already been fingerprinted at the border in addition to of which the children had been forcibly removed via them.

Stories of frustration played out across the country as parents faced lengthy bureaucratic hurdles as they tried to recover their children.

Often the adults were released via detention, only to realize of which the item would certainly be weeks before their children could rejoin them, leaving the minors parked in government facilities. At least two Brazilian mothers sued the government in federal court in addition to won orders for the Discharge of their children via shelters in addition to into their custody. More recently, various other mothers have also filed suit to recover their children.

Still, government lawyers said Monday of which they needed more time to “safely reunite families.” The Health in addition to Human Services Department must follow procedures of which are “time-consuming,” the government told the court.

The chaotic in addition to slow reunions prompted the judge to push Tuesday for faster releases, ultimately forcing the government to change course.

Advocates said they began seeing signs of which the administration would certainly waive the requirements on Wednesday: Many young children were released to their parents despite the fact of which the adults had not fulfilled previously stipulated steps, like fingerprinting. The government performed DNA tests on some, however not all, of them, some advocates said.

Since learning of which the requirements would certainly be streamlined, “we have been strategizing all night, putting our ducks in a row to get parents who are already out of detention to their kids,” said Taylor Levy, legal coordinator at Annunciation House, a nonprofit in El Paso of which offers temporary accommodation for migrants.

Ms. Levy said she expected two migrant parents, who were staying just blocks via the shelter where their children were being housed, to be reunited with them as early as Thursday. They had been waiting for several weeks for background checks, including fingerprint processing, to be completed.

“Finally the government can be going to do what the item needs to do to comply with the deadline,” Ms. Levy said.

Ron Nixon reported via Washington, in addition to Miriam Jordan via Los Angeles.