United States says it reunifies 57 of 103 young migrants as deadline looms

AUSTIN TX- JUNE 30 A demonstrator uses baby clothes to spell out the word

Some parents who were already deported may choose not to have their child sent to them, in some cases because the child has other family in the USA or can pursue asylum or other relief. Lawyers said the fathers were too distraught to speak to the news media.

The Trump administration separated the families as part of its "zero tolerance" strategy to criminally prosecute all immigrants who cross the U.S. -Mexico border illegally, including those who are seeking asylum. Its explanation: "1 child can not be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year". Fabian did not disclose where the reunions would take place.

Justice Department attorneys have been under a 6 p.m. ET Thursday deadline to explain to Dana Sabraw, the US district judge behind the court order, how they returned the eligible children - and why the rest are ineligible for return under the court's guidelines.

Trump said Tuesday that he has a solution to the missed deadline: "Tell people not to come to our country illegally".

Last week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there were "under 3,000" separated children in all.

On Thursday, the government will give Sabraw a progress report on the younger children and whether it expects to meet the deadline for the older group. "Eliminating any one of these steps will endanger children". Our agencies' careful vetting procedures helped prevent the reunification of children with an alleged murderer, an adult convicted of child cruelty, and adults determined not to be the parent of the child.

Eleven of the adults had serious criminal histories, such as kidnapping and murder, said Chris Meekins, chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which is aiding in the reunification effort.

The Trump administration said it had reunited all eligible migrant children under 5 with their parents by Thursday, but dozens remain separated because of safety concerns.

The ACLU said the government hasn't been able to explain why that is taking so long.

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.

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"I just went through those examples", Albence said, sounding annoyed.

Mr Sabraw showed little appetite for giving more time to the government unless it could show good reasons in specific cases.

The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite about 2,000 older children who were also separated from their families at the border in the past few months.

At least one child being held in an immigrant detention center after being taken from their family may actually be a US citizen - and the government has lost track of their parents, court filings show.

"These are firm deadlines".

Suarez said activists will be watching the court ruling and will hold them responsible. Both sides were expected to return to court on Friday to map out how to reunite other families.

Mr Ardino 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.

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.

In this photo June 17 photo provided by US Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at an immigration centre in McAllen, Texas.

Leon Fresco, a former senior Justice Department immigration lawyer, said putting ankle bracelets on migrants is a return to what the Trump administration itself has described as catch and release; ending its practice was a top priority of the labour union that represents Border Patrol agents and endorsed Trump's candidacy. The judge refused to modify that.

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