The Trump administration will miss the Tuesday deadline to reunite all parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to the Washington Post, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian said officials have identified 102 children aged 4 and under who have been taken from their parents. Border officials predict that they will return 54 to their parents by July 10.
Fabian told the U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw that dependent on background checks, up to 59 children will be reunited with their parents at a hearing early Monday morning.
Federal officials have yet to disclose the exact number of separated families to Sabraw, who is the judge presiding over a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union to speak for those affected by the immigration crackdown in the past few weeks.
Government lawyers claim that federal agencies have not been able to find some of the parents who were released or deported after they were separated from their children. Others remain in criminal custody or now have records that prevent them from quickly reclaiming their children.
Officials claim that they are banding together to locate the missing parents, and the majority of them will be released in the United States.
“I am very encouraged about the progress,” Sabraw said during the proceedings. “This is real progress. I’m optimistic that many of these families will be reunited tomorrow.”
This past weekend Sabraw had charged the government with the task of providing a list of the separated children’s names to the ACLU, then scheduled an additional hearing for Tuesday morning.
CNN reports a media release on Sunday where the ACLU claimed that the government had “initially provided incomplete information” by the Saturday night deadline given for the list. An updated list with 102 children’s names was then delivered on Sunday.
Fabian said that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will reunite the families in a secret location and then be released before the immigration proceedings begin. She claims that the parents and children will not remain in ICE custody while they await their court dates.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said that the government had taken “significant steps” to rejoin the separated parents and children, but that the ACLU was still in the dark about how much effort the Trump administration has made to locate the parents.
The government has been instructed to rejoin the almost 3,000 children older than 5 with their families by no later than July 26.