Reunited immigrant children scooped up into parents’ arms

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Children separated from their parents, some as young as 1 year old, are appearing in US immigration court. In total, 46 children under age 5 are still separated from the adults they were taken from at the border and are not eligible for reunification under court order at this time, in some cases because the parent was found to be unsafe or not actually a parent, according to the government.

Public outrage over the separations led President Donald Trump to retreat last month from his "zero-tolerance" policy toward unlawful border crossings. While parents were criminally prosecuted, children were placed in custody of the Health and Human Services Department. Nine were in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offences. The government said 57 immigrant children under age 5 have been reunited with their parents as of Thursday morning.

The US government missed the deadline to reunite the youngest migrant children separated from their parents.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parents".

On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers told Sabraw they would reunite 38 children by the deadline.

Federal judge Dana Sabraw-who issued the ruling that set the Tuesday deadline-asked the ACLU to "submit a proposal for possible punishment" against the Trump administration for failing to meet the target date. Nine adults are in federal custody for other offenses, two are in state jails for other offenses and the location of one adult believed to be the parent of a separated child has been unknown for more than a year.

In ordering an end to the separation of families, the president said they should instead be detained together. "That's the solution", he told reporters.

The ACLU argued, in response to that claim, that the administration had not made a good-faith effort to contact those parents who had been deported to facilitate reunification with their children.

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According to court filings, both children were forcibly taken from their parents at the border and brought to Noank Community Support Services in CT, where they are now being cared for.

"For any kid that has a adult that's been deemed ineligible, we continue to go through the normal sponsorship process", Meekins said, meaning that children could be taken out of foster care by other family members in the United States, if those adults are deemed suitable sponsors.

The second case involves a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador who crossed the U.S. -Mexico border in May with her mother. He told attorneys that the final deadline will be "a significant undertaking".

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, whose organization filed the lawsuit that forced the administration's hand, said he was "both thrilled and disappointed" with the government's work on the deadline.

Authorities said most of the parents would be released into the USA from immigration detention centers, and the children would be freed from government-contracted shelters and foster care.

The distance between many children and their parent or parents have been coupled with logistical challenges and resulted in a major bureaucratic snag. But the government does not have the room: ICE has three family detention centers with space for 3,000 people, and they are already at or near capacity, though the Trump administration is trying to line up space at military bases.

The government has said around 2,300 children were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, which was abandoned in June after intense protests.

The government pays for DNA and screening fees, officials said.

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