WASHINGTON | Less than half of a hundred migrant children separated from their parents will be reunited with their families on time by a California court, and the fate of dozens of others remains unclear, US authorities said Tuesday.
A judge ordered the authorities to reunite all children under five with their families by July 10.
According to US officials, four of these 102 children have already found their parents Tuesday, and 34 more reunifications must occur during the day.
But the rest of the reunion will be delayed: some parents are still detained, others have criminal records loaded and others have already been expelled.
“Our duty is to protect children. What we are doing now is ensuring that these children are not reunited with people who can harm them, “said Chris Meekins, an official with the Ministry of Health.
A judge in San Diego Monday gave the government more time to reunite the 102 children with their families. They are among more than 2,300 children separated from their parents as part of Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” migration policy.
The other children must be reunited with their families by July 26th.
In the case of 20 children, the reunion was delayed for “logistical reasons,” said Meekins. For 12 of them, it’s because their parents have already been expelled from the United States.
Chris Meekins also pointed out that DNA tests have shown that five adults claiming to be the parents of children are not actually parents.
Ten children will continue to wait to be reunited with their parents while they are being detained and charged with entering the country illegally.
In other cases, a child has been abused by one of his parents, and the parent of another has a contagious illness.
The government has been heavily criticized in the United States and abroad for separating children from undocumented parents. The majority of these families are from Central America and seek asylum because of violence in their home countries.
The authorities hoped with this measure to deter the arrival of migrants.
In the face of the outcry created by the images of children in tears, Donald Trump ended by decree June 20 separations, calling on Congress to reform the immigration laws.