White House seeks extension for deadline to reunite migrant families

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families

DNA testing is being conducted as part of the process to reunite children who were separated from their parents at the border, a federal official with knowledge of the reunifications told CNN.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego, Calif., ordered the government to return children under the age of 5 to their parents by next Tuesday. He said the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for detaining and caring for undocumented immigrant children apprehended by authorities, is not sure precisely how many kids came into its care as a result of the Border Patrol taking them from their families.

In the case of 19 others, the parents have been released and their whereabouts is unknown, government lawyers said.

Attorneys also argued that the government shouldn't have to reunite the children whose parents were already deported, but Sabraw confirmed that it did, according to The Huffington Post.

"If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law". They will need more time to collect DNA samples or other evidence from parents who have been released from government custody.

The detention centres are located on federal land and are thus not subject to supervision by local governments, reports CBS News. His mother, Olivia Caceres, sought asylum weeks later and - after enduring one bureaucratic hurdle after another, including a DNA test - was reunited with her son almost three months after he was taken away. He called it an 'unprecedented situation in connecting parents and children'.

'Once we reunify children with their parents, they will be in DHS custody and DHS will be in charge of further proceedings related to the parents and the child, ' Azar said. "To our knowledge this is a cheek swab and is being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns", the official said.

Dozens of HHS personnel have spent nights and the weekend manually reviewing the files of the 11,800 children in its care, looking for indication of separation in the records.




"What I'm contemplating is the government provides a list to plaintiffs counsel by tomorrow 5 p.m. (PDT, midnight GMT) with the identities of the children", Sabraw said, according to Reuters.

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

The court order also includes a deadline to release children aged between five and 17 by 26 July. "They need to give to the child back". She represents a Guatemalan woman who had an emotional reunion with her 8-year-old daughter this week after being separated for 55 days.

Robert Guadian, a senior official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), called the process "difficult and time consuming" in court documents filed Friday.

He also ordered that parents have phone contact with their children by Friday.

Lawyers for the agency argue that meeting an upcoming July 10 court-mandated deadline to reunite children under age 5 and a subsequent deadline to reunite the almost 3,000 remaining children later this month would be hard.

"Because of the compressed timeframe, the typical process of using documentations is not going to be completed within the timeframe allowed in this case by the court decision for the great majority of these children", Commander Jonathan White, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, told reporters on Thursday.

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