US Seeking to Delay Reuniting Immigrant Children With Parents

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

His team said the procedures were "harmless" cheek swabs.

The Trump administration asked a judge Friday for more time to reunite families who were separated at the border under its "zero-tolerance" policy to prosecute every person who enters the country illegally.

This isn't a ideal equation; we don't know whether the children released from HHS custody were reunited with parents - only that they're no longer in one of the agency's shelters.

Azar said that verification process in some cases involves DNA testing.

But during a Thursday call with reporters, Azar said that although HHS officials were working "overtime" to vet parents and ensure that the children in the agency's custody end up where they belong, none of the children with family members who are being held in federal custody have actually been reunited to date.

HHS had previously reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care.

Azar said reunited families would remain in custody of the Department of Homeland Security as their cases are adjudicated.

The government also said it wanted to assure that parents could provide for the child's physical and mental well-being. "We're airing on the side of inclusion", he said.

The source could not discuss how long the practice has been taking place, if the testing requires consent and if the DNA is stored in a database.

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It also sought relief from a paragraph in the original injunction that prohibits the government from detaining adult migrants without their children, arguing it could be read to require the release of such detainees if they had not been reunified within the time frame set by the court.

The latest information we have was provided to CNN by a U.S. government source: a map showing that the 2,047 separated unaccompanied minors who were in custody of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement as of June 25 were scattered across 16 states.

Meanwhile Trump on Thursday uttered his latest contradictory outburst over the chaotic border crisis. Before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, migrants seeking asylum under USA laws were often granted temporary release as their cases were resolved. "Tell the people "OUT", and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn".

Trump has spoken out repeatedly against lengthy judicial processes to determine migrants' eligibility for immigration, asylum or deportation, arguing they are a waste of USA resources.

Congress has been unable to advance major immigration legislation going back to the George W. Bush years. 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.

President Donald Trump reversed course last month and signed an executive order meant to keep families together, but the administration is still facing scrutiny and questions over the families separated as a result of its widely-criticized "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

New figures released by DHS show overall apprehensions at the southwestern border dropped by 18 percent in June from the previous month, to 34,114.

But the reunification efforts have been complicated by the fact that government records assigning "family identification numbers" to immigrant families were reportedly deleted.

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