US using DNA to reunite 3000 migrant children, parents

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

The agency also has about 100 "reunification case managers" and 40 additional staff members working to reunite kids, according to court filings.

Advocacy groups including the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, have questioned the government's contention it may need more time to safely reunite families, and have raised concerns about whether it has a comprehensive plan to bring families together. Trump administration officials have been assailed in public by angry protestors.

The government says the reunification process is going faster for parents now in ICE custody than those who have been released. This had shortened the period for confirmations to a few days from a couple of weeks. Officials are reviewing records of 11,800 children in that office's custody to see if they've been separated from their parents at the border. We will do as much as possible up until the deadline set by the court to ensure these are the parents, and do background checks and otherwise confirm suitability, ' he said.

A California judge on Friday gave the USA government until the following night to submit a list of children under five separated from their families at the border, a government official said. "They need to give to the child back".

"It doesn't make sense", Gelernt said. "You've taken a child from the parent". Its database has some information about the children's parents but wasn't created to reunify families under the court's deadline.

But Azar portrayed the process as orderly and disputed accusations that the Trump administration has failed to account for some minors.

In a filing submitted Thursday, the US Department of Justice said HHS was using DNA swab testing to determine parentage.

Of the 86 parents who have been linked, 46 of them are detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, 19 were deported, 19 were released into the United States and their whereabouts are unknown, and two of them were deemed unfit for reunification due to their criminal histories.

The government says DNA testing is a faster means of confirming parentage than relying on assembling documents such as birth certificates. "The government is saying DNA every single person".

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on Thursday that the government now has just under 3,000 separated immigrant children in its care, backtracking on previous claims that the number was closer to 2,047.

"Because of the compressed timeframe, the typical process of using documentations is not going to be completed within the timeframe allowed in this case by the court decision for the great majority of these children", Commander Jonathan White, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, told reporters on Thursday.

Logistically, that's "not the easiest task", Azar said.

"Any confusion is due to a broken immigration system and court orders".

Azar said that "under 3,000" immigrant minors have been reported as separated from their families. Of those 86 parents, 46 are in immigration detention facilities, 19 have been released from the custody of US Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and 19 have already been deported.

In the court filing, the Justice Department sought clarification on whether they have to reunite migrant kids with parents who were already deported and appeared to argue that would be too hard and time consuming. There are reports that some migrants agreed to be quickly deported, believing it would speed up the recovery of their children - only to board a plane and realize that their child would be left behind. Sixteen children had not been matched, and it remained unclear if they crossed with their parents, she said.

"The safety and security is paramount and that it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked or smuggled by those claiming to be parents".

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