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'57 migrant kids under age five reunited with family'

'57 migrant kids under age five reunited with family'

Earlier this week, the government missed a June 10 deadline for reunifying all children under 5.

"Trying to find out", said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney, wrote in an email. A hearing is scheduled Friday morning. Eleven of those adults had serious criminal histories, the statement said, including "charges or convictions" for child cruelty, kidnapping, murder, human smuggling or domestic violence. He declined to provide case information for six others.

A federal judge in California previously ordered the government to return all children age 4 and younger to their parents by July 10.

Officials claimed one adult abused the child he traveled with, while another adult told of his plans to house a child with a suspected pedophile.

The court-ordered reunions come as it was revealed detained adult migrants will be re-released from custody and be allowed to stay in the US.

"Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children", said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official helping to direct the process. Nine were in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for other offenses. An update on that case was not immediately available Thursday.

The government still must reunify as many as 2,900 children over the age of 5 with their parents, based on initial estimates that up to 3,000 kids had been separated from mothers and fathers at the border.

"That is going to be a significant undertaking", U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline.

In Tuesday's filing, administration lawyers stated that a remaining 27 children were not eligible for reunification with a parent and were therefore not subject to the court-mandated reunification deadline. "They're not aspirational goals", the judge said.

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"Things have taken a real step forward", Mr Gelernt said.

Both sides agreed to submit a document Monday night stating their disagreements on protocol; Court will reconvene on Tuesday to determine the process for reuniting the remaining children. The court has set a July 26 deadline for those children to be reunified. While most are "perfectly appropriate sponsors for the children", Meekins said, "sadly, not all are".

Almost 3,000 children were swept up under the "zero-tolerance policy" and the majority have yet to be reunited with their families.

The government said 24 children are now not eligible to be reunited with parents "due to circumstances of the adults in question", 11 of whom are in criminal custody with either the U.S. Marshals Service or state jails.

A different judge, in Los Angeles, on Monday dismissed as "dubious" and "unconvincing" the U.S. Justice Department's proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children can not be held in detention for long periods, irrespective of whether they're with their families. But their priority is to see that families are reunited "in a manner that ensures the safety of the child"-which can take time".

Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy in May, although some separations happened before then.

They remained apart for two months, with Pulex in detention in El Paso and her daughter sent to live with a foster family in MI. Physicians and others blasted the policy and warned about lasting psychological damage to children and parents.

Since the government first came under pressure to ease its policy on separations weeks ago, it has shifted its estimates of the number of children it would reunite. Customs and Border Patrol also stopped referring all parents from criminal prosecution, essentially returning the situation at the border to the previous status quo.

Sabraw made clear during a court hearing Tuesday that his deadlines were firm, and he raised the possibility of punishment for the government if those children were not reunited by the deadline "or within the immediate proximity" of it.