Judge warns Trump administration to stick to deadline on family reunification

Christian from Honduras recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas

In total, an estimated 3,000 children were separated from their parents as a result of Trump's so-called "zero tolerance" policy.

The filing noted 13 others now deemed ineligible for reunification, for reasons ranging from parents now in the custody of other criminal justice agencies to a parent who is being treated for a communicable disease, and one who lives in a home with another adult who has a criminal background.

"Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question that it is protecting children", said Chris Meekins, an official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the children's care.

"Records show the parent and child might be USA citizens", lawyers for the government wrote in the filing.

Fabian didn't say why they were being released, but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has little space to hold families.

But President Donald Trump has indicated he opposes releasing entire families in most cases.

Under-5 children who will remain separated for now include parents have already been released into the United States, have been deported, or are behind bars on criminal charges.

More than 50 children under age 5 could be back in the arms of their parents by the deadline at the end of the day, the Justice Department said.

The child 'cannot be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year, ' the Justice Department said, adding that 'records show the parent and child might be USA citizens'.

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The lead-up to the Monday court appointment indicated the duress the Trump administration is now under in trying to swiftly reunite the families it has separated - and just how messy the situation has gotten. If those parents were able to prove a familial bond with their child using a birth certificate or official documentation, they argued, there should be no hold-up in the reunification process. The administration has been given until July 10 to reunite separated children under 5 years old with their parents.

"The objective of the [Trafficking Victims Protection Act ] is to promote the best interests of the child and to reunite families", the ACLU had argued.

Also Monday, a federal judge in California sharply rebuked the Justice Department for seeking a modification to a long-standing court settlement. Tell people not to come to our country illegally.

Of the almost 3,000 migrant minors who were separated from their parents and placed in federal custody, the Trump administration says at least 102 are under 5 years old. It noted that 20 of those parents were already deported, even though their children remain in US government custody. On Monday, advocates for immigrants said there has been an outpouring of support nationwide for the soon-to-be reunited families, including offers of places to stay and money to resettle in the United States as they await deportation hearings.

In this June 25 photo, a mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child while surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border, near McAllen, Texas.

'If we find out they are not the legal parent, then clearly we are not going to reunite them, ' Meekins said.

The government has reportedly struggled to offer exact information about the number of children separated from their parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case that led to Sabraw's initial injunction on behalf of migrant parents, said the court is "holding the Trump administration's feet to the fire" to accomplish reunification.

"Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours ... has taken significant steps", Gelernt said.

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