In New York, attorney Michael Avenatti- the lawyer best known for representing the porn actress Stormy Daniels- said it took two tries plus a series of tweets Wednesday before he was allowed to see two Honduran girls, ages 9 and 5, who were separated from their family at the border in June, and sent to New York.
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As of July 12, government-provided reunification data said 103 children under 5 years old were covered by the court order.
The group requested that the court order the government to establish a fund to cover the cost of mental health treatment for children "who are suffering from severe trauma as a result of their forcible separation from their parents".
As the government awaits the court's Monday decision on whether or not the timeline for family reunification will be extended, time is of the essence: doctors have repeatedly warned that being separated from parents for even short periods of time can cause symptoms of toxic stress in children, which can derail healthy emotional development. They said some of their parents had already been deported.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the parents in a class-action lawsuit, said USA officials "have not even tried" to return 12 children to parents who were deported, and said officials should have more quickly found eight parents who have been released in the United States. In addition to the parents previously deemed unsuitable, another six parents had issues come up as background checks and DNA tests were completed between Tuesday and Thursday.
Almost half of the children still separated from their families remain so because of "safety concerns" related to the individuals identified as their parents, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Are families seeking asylum at ports of entries also separated?
But Meekins said the measures are created to protect children.
The remaining 46 children were ineligible for many reasons, which were included in a statement released by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The reunions are expected to be carried out in secret or secure locations, with parents taken from the detention centers where they have been held and children brought from federal shelters or foster homes.
These include seven adults who were found not to be the child's parent, one adult who was alleged to have abused the child, one adult who was allegedly planning to house the child with a suspected child sex offender, and 11 adults who have a serious criminal history such as kidnapping, murder, or domestic violence. Fabian did not offer a timetable for when the other children would join their parents.
That discrepancy in numbers is one of several disagreements both sides of the suit, the Justice Department and the ACLU, pledged to discuss later Monday.
"Unfortunately we don't have additional info yet", Gelernt said. On that front, the judge has noted "there is a lot of work to do" on the older group of children and has ordered the Justice Department to provide an update Thursday on how many need to be reunited with parents.
"Our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment".
The latest figures released by the government were early on Tuesday, when officials said that four children under 5 had been reunited and at least 34 more would be with their parents by the end of the day.
After announcing on June 20 that family separations would stop, the federal government said it will instead keep some families together in detention facilities.
The move fell short of a judge's order to reunite 63 of 102 young children by the end of Tuesday.