Trump administration files extension for more time to reunite families

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This isn't a ideal equation; we don't know whether the children released from HHS custody were reunited with parents - only that they're no longer in one of the agency's shelters.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego previously ordered the U.S.to return all children under age five to their parents by July 10 and all other minors by July 26. "We're airing on the side of inclusion", he said.

United States officials have resorted to DNA testing on up to 3,000 detained children who remain separated from their migrant parents, a top official said Thursday as President Donald Trump's administration struggles to rapidly reunite families at the center of a border crisis.

"The safety and security is paramount and that it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked or smuggled by those claiming to be parents".

On June 20, the Department of Health and Human Services said there were 2,053 children from separated families in its care.

The Department of Health and Human Services is "doing DNA testing to confirm parentage quickly and accurately", HHS Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on a conference call.

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The Trump administration on Friday asked a federal judge to grant it more time to reunite some of the almost 3,000 immigrant children who were separated from their parents in recent months under the "zero tolerance" policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for both children taken from their parents and those who came to the USA with an adult, is now trying to match families. The judge's order requires the government to reunite children under 5 with their parents by Tuesday.

On Thursday, Azar said the Trump administration "will comply" with the deadlines - though he assailed the judge's timetable as "extreme".

About half of the parents of the 101 children are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Trump administration is asking a court for more time to reunite families that were separated at the border under its "zero-tolerance" policy to prosecute every person who enters the country illegally.

"We have been deluged by thousands of doctors, lawyers and people who want to help", Gelernt said after the hearing.

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But in the court filings, the government says it "may need clarification on or some relief from certain parts of the order, so that Defendants can safely reunite families".

Falcon, communications director for RAICES, a nonprofit in Texas that offers free and low-priced legal services to immigrants and refugees, called the move deplorable because collecting such sensitive data would allow the government to conduct surveillance on the children "for the rest of their lives".

The government says it has 16 children under age 5 in its custody who it has not beeen able to link to an adult.

In Friday's court filing, the federal government asked the court if it will still be in compliance with the 30-day deadline if it struggles to meet it in cases in which it is hard to confirm parentage.

Judge Sabraw's original deadlines for reunification were July 10 for kids under 5, and July 26 for those 5-17.

The order, though, didn't address how or when already-separated families would be reunited. He also ordered the government to make sure all parents had a way to contact their children by July 6.

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