All migrant kids under 5 to be back with parents by Thursday

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

"Apply lawfully and wait your turn".

The ACLU's Gelernt said during a court hearing on Friday that it was "startling" that the government can not find some parents.

Amna Nawaz talked with Lee Gelernt of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project on Tuesday when the government didn't meet its first court-imposed deadline on reunification.

Sabraw is scheduled to hold a court hearing Friday morning in San Diego to decide whether the government did enough.

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 US or can pursue asylum or other relief. He declined to provide details about every case, but said one adult was convicted of child cruelty and narcotics charges. Fabian did not offer a timetable for when the other children would join their parents. Seven were not determined to be a parent, one had a false birth certificate, one had allegedly abused the child.

"The judge made it very clear he wasn't going to allow the Trump administration to drag its feet on reunifying these children with their parents", Gelernt said.

In a joint statement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledged that a "tremendous amount of hard work and obstacles" remain in the reunification process.

"Tomorrow there will hopefully be more than 50 babies and toddlers reunited with their parents, and that is obviously an enormous victory", he said.

Eleven adults were either in the custody of the U.S. Marshals "for other offenses" (9) or in the the custody of state jails (2). An update on that case was not immediately available Thursday.

'Reckless': Trump escalates trade war with another $US200b in Chinese tariffs
The first round of tariffs covered Chinese products ranging from farming plows to machine tools and communications satellites. In an April Twitter post, Trump said this allowed China to "get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the US".

Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.

The Department of Justice reported their list in a hearing on Tuesday in which they revealed to the American Civil Liberties Union that the missing father, as well as the child, "might be" USA citizens.

"Elimination of any one of these steps increases the margin of error that children could be harmed", he said. "They're not aspirational goals", said Judge Dana Sabraw of U.S. District Court in San Diego, admonishing the government. Another five families will likely be reunited after Tuesday, once the background check process is completed. One adult's location was unknown, they said.

Still other parents still have yet to undergo DNA testing to match them to their purported children.

But Meekins said the measures are created to protect children.

"We are already beginning a process for reunifying children aged 5 to 17", said Chris Meekins, the chief of staff for HHS' response and preparedness office, in the call with reporters. While most are "perfectly appropriate sponsors for the children", Meekins said, "sadly, not all are".

On Wednesday night, a government official said all children under five who were eligible for reunification would be with their parents by Thursday morning.

After the executive order was issued, the administration said it would seek to detain the families together indefinitely, much like a similar attempt by the Barack Obama administration, but that has so far been blocked by the courts.

As the government awaits the court's Monday decision on whether or not the timeline for family reunification will be extended, time is of the essence: doctors have repeatedly warned that being separated from parents for even short periods of time can cause symptoms of toxic stress in children, which can derail healthy emotional development. Customs and Border Patrol also stopped referring all parents from criminal prosecution, essentially returning the situation at the border to the previous status quo.

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