US says it will release, reunite 50 immigrant children

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U.S. 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. Two children have already been reunited with their parents, lawyers said.

"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under 5 with their parent", said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

"I am very encouraged about the progress", Sabraw said on Monday, according to the newspaper. "I'm optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow".

Monday's hearing set the stage for a dramatic day of reunifications on Tuesday across the country, though they are likely to occur largely outside public view. They come amid a tide of national and global outrage over such young children being taken from their parents. Under Sabraw's order last month, the rest of the minors will need to be returned to their families by July 26. Their children have been kept in federally run shelters and in foster homes. "It may end up being different for the older kids".

How much of this is about the fact that they didn't really track or think about how they were going to track these kids to begin with? The families will be released after they are reunited. Fabian said another 12 have parents in state or federal prison.

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CBS News spoke to one parent named Mario who hasn't seen his 10-year-old daughter for more than a month after they crossed the border illegally.

He said the ACLU instead wanted a detailed explanation of when all families will be reunited.

"We are seeing that people are opening up their homes", said Heidi Altman, director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center. They have to conduct criminal background checks of the parents. Some are in criminal custody or have criminal records that make them ineligible to immediately claim their children.

The government sought an extension on the deadline, saying they needed more time to conduct DNA testing. It said Monday that it plans to demand that the court set a deadline for reunifying parents with their kids within 48 hours of making contact if the parents are within the US and within one week if the parents have already been deported.

More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry and said families should remain together. They say officials recklessly split up families without any idea of how to bring them back together.

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On Friday, Fabian told the judge 101 children were under 5.

The distance between many children and their parent or parents have been coupled with logistical challenges and resulted in a major bureaucratic snag.

Also Friday, Fabian said 19 parents were deported and 19 were released. She said Monday that they may have been incorrectly marked as deported.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores had no comment on the discrepancies in the numbers.

Sabraw had ordered the July 10 deadline in response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, said in court that the government had taken "significant steps" to reunite families but should be moving more quickly.

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