US says it will release, reunite 50 immigrant children

Necessary steps in resolving the fate of thousands of children being held captive by the USA will be delayed at least another couple of days because a government attorney has dog-sitting responsibilities out of state and can't attend a weekend court status conference.

Under President Barack Obama, DNA testing of unauthorized border-crossers was rare, former administration officials said, but one said it was sometimes used as a last resort to verify family connections when placing unaccompanied minors with sponsors in the United States.

Sabraw's order in the class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union applies to all families who have been separated and includes a halt to any future separations.

On a conference call, officials from HHS said they expect approximately half of the roughly 100 children under the age of five to be reunited with their parents by Tuesday, the deadline imposed by Judge Sabraw in a decision last week.

The separations have become a political disaster for the Trump administration, roundly criticized by members of Congress in both parties amid public outrage.

White said field teams are taking swabs from the cheeks of children and adults and sending them to a third-party laboratory for analysis. The agency is now reviewing the cases of all 11,800 children in its custody to determine whether they were separated from caregivers.

But more than 45 young children will remain in government custody away from family, including nine children whose parent was already deported, nine whose parent was released into the USA and 12 whose parent is in criminal custody.

By July 26, it must reunite all remaining children (those between the ages of 5 and 17).

"Any confusion is due to a broken immigration system and court orders", Azar told reporters on Thursday. He told the two sides to discuss possible exceptions and report to him Monday.

Fabian reportedly said that the reunited families will be released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody ahead of immigration proceedings. The administration has been given until July 10 to reunite separated children under 5 years old with their parents.

The ACLU also contested the government's assertion that only nine parents have been deported while their children remain in custody, saying they believe the number is 12.

Amid an global outcry, Donald Trump reversed course on 20 June and said families should remain together. "At the same time, however, the Government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from Government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of that child". He also said that adults can not be deported from the United States without their children. Many children were sent to facilities thousands of miles away from their parents, and some are too young or scared to provide accurate information about their parents or their journey.

Susan Church, a Boston immigration lawyer, said the government could release migrants who are seeking asylum on bond so that they can find their children faster.

  • Jon Douglas