Children separated from their parents, some as young as 1 year old, are appearing in US immigration court.
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A federal judge on Tuesday told the Trump administration to adhere to the deadline for reuniting children separated from their parents under the "zero tolerance" policy, even as officials have said they'll be unable to meet it.
The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two separated children under 5 years old that meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday.
The move comes in advance of a Monday hearing on whether to extend the Tuesday deadline for reuniting the children with their families.
Given that many households for potential sponsors include undocumented immigrants wary of being in contact with ICE, the fingerprint requirement may have led to an increase in the amount of time children spend in government custody.
US District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered both sides back in court on Tuesday to give another update and for him rule on differences over protocols to follow when reuniting children.
Amid enormous backlash and global outcry, Trump reversed course on 20 June and said families should remain together until the parents' immigration proceedings are complete, a process that can take months.
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Some lawyers representing the separated children, who have been scattered into foster systems across the country, said the government was not telling them what would happen to their young clients. An additional 20 children have purported parents with whom they can not be reunited because those adults have already been either removed from the United States or released into the country, which removes DHS and HHS's ability to force them to come get the children they claim are theirs.
"If we find out they are not the legal parent, then clearly we are not going to reunite them", Meekins said.
The ACLU sued in March on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her daughter for five months after seeking asylum at a San Diego border crossing and a Brazilian asylum-seeker who was separated from her son after an arrest for illegal entry in August near the Texas-New Mexico border.
The ACLU, however, said it believes as many as 10 more children might not be on the government's list, and said it would provide those names to the government to investigate.
The decision came after a government lawyer said around half of the 102 young children could be placed back with their parents by the previously-given deadline of Tuesday.
The judge ordered the attorneys to file more thoughts by Monday evening on the timelines and procedures for reuniting those parents who will not rejoin their children Tuesday, and the court will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to discuss the issue further. They also note that DNA swabs are being utilized in order to quickly place the minors. Federal officials have said somewhere "under 3,000" migrant children have been separated overall, but their numbers have varied. That child and his or her parent may be USA citizens, according to the filing. But on Monday, she said nine were removed from the United States and an additional nine were released here.
In the filing, the ACLU criticized the government's work reuniting the children with their parents.
"I believe that they can still reunite some [more] individuals by tomorrow", Gelernt said during the hearing.