Feds using DNA testing to reunite migrant families

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families

HHS Secy Pushes Back on Reports of Mass Confusion in Reuniting Migrant Families

Five days before the first US government-imposed deadline to reunite migrant parents and children who were separated after crossing the Southwest border, immigration officials are mounting a round-the-clock effort involving hundreds of federal workers to bring the families together, a senior Trump administration official said Thursday.

Another complicating factor, he said, is that some children being held by immigration officials may not qualify for immediate reunification under the court's order because they became separated from their parents during their journey and not by border agents after their entry into the United States.

"We have not [placed] children into ICE custody yet, but we will do so with the court's order and supervision", Azar said, according to CNBC.

In Friday's legal request - the government asked for more time and clarification on if their current process for confirming parentage is consistent with the court's mandate and "seeks clarification that in cases where parentage can not be confirmed quickly, HHS will not be in violation of the Court's order if reunification occurs outside of the timelines provided by the Court".

A California federal court told the Trump administration last week to reunite children under five within 14 days, meaning by next Tuesday, and to reunite all others within 30 days. The court order, Azar said, "goes back indefinitely".

"We are meeting the needs of unaccompanied alien children in our custody", he said.

Immigrant children under 5 will be returned to their families. Another top official leading the effort said in the court filing that, although officials were working nights and over the weekend, they may be unable to quickly match some families because the tests were inconclusive, or the parents were released from custody and have not yet been found. As of Thursday, Health and Human Services said "under 3,000" children were still separated from their families.

The administration had previously said that just over 2,000 separated minors remained in its care. Before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, migrants seeking asylum under US laws were often granted temporary release as their cases were resolved.

US officials are now rushing to reunite more than 2,000 children separated from their parents at the border after the court in San Diego ordered the government last month to halt the practice.

Not fully reunited: Yeni Gonzalez, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children saw her children in NY this week for the first time since mid May.

Asked at least three times how many children had been reunited, Azar would not provide a number.

The organization said they'd never heard of DNA testing being done to reunite families before and they don't support the move.

Also on Thursday, CBS News reported that a federal policy loophole allows two child migrant detention centres - the "Tent City" in Tornillo, Texas and a shelter in Homestead, Florida - to evade child welfare inspections required of other shelters. "Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial", he wrote.

Only recently, the president had told Republicans in Congress to stop wasting their time on immigration until after November's elections, but now Trump is insisting that Congress "FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!"

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