The Trump administration on Thursday released a statement saying it has completed the court-ordered reunification of children under five years old, while claiming that half of the children did not meet eligibility for reunification, The LA Times reported.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 57 out of 103 young migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border largely as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on suspected illegal crossings, were reunified with parents within two days of the court-mandated deadline.
HHS claimed that 46 other children were not eligible for reunification under court guidelines.
“As of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed. Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said in a joint statement. “Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families. The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly, and we intend to continue our good faith efforts to reunify families.”
Last month, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to return children older than 5 by July 26, and children under the age of 5 by July 10.
Sabraw ordered the reunifications after a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.