A court-imposed deadline to reunite immigrant children under five with their parents by July 10th will likely not be met.
Twenty-two of the 46 remaining children were declared ineligible for reunification because of safety concerns posed by the adults in their cases, including serious criminal histories and adults determined not to be a parent, according to HHS.
Some parents who were already deported may choose not to have their child sent to them, in some cases because the child has other family in the US or can pursue asylum or other relief.
Authorities said most of the parents would be released into the USA from immigration detention centers, and the children would be freed from government-contracted shelters and foster care.
"Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families", the officials said.
In separating families, Trump sought to advance a hard-line immigration policy that past administrations had considered and quickly abandoned as inhumane.
The Trump administration says all eligible small children separated from their families as a result of its zero-tolerance immigration policy have been reunited with their parents.
The administration faces a second, bigger deadline on July 26 to reunite more than 2,000 older children with their families.
Many children were sent to government-contracted shelters or foster care hundreds of miles away from where their parents were detained.
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"These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain", the ACLU's Lee Gelernt said in a statement. Despite Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's assurances that the government was on track to meet the dates laid out in the ruling, subsequent court filings showed that the Trump administration was seeking to push the deadline back. "Accordingly, by the end of the day we will decide what remedies to recommend to the court for the non-compliance".
The agency didn't respond to Business Insider's request for comment on why six of the intended 63 children weren't reunited.
This week, families who have been reunified have been released from federal custody, given ankle monitors and ordered to appear back in court for their immigration proceedings. The Department of Justice said the child, who has been in custody for more than a year, may be a USA citizen.
Thousands of babies, toddlers and older children were separated from their parents at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry over the images of youngsters in chain-link cages and audio recordings of children crying.
"The Trump administration was ordered to reunite more than 100 children with their parents by today", Rep. Pramila Jayapal noted in a tweet on Tuesday. Nine parents were being kept for other offenses.
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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle McConaghy told the judge the government has a plan to reunify all parents and children by the deadline.
Of the deported parents, officials said they had chosen to leave their children behind.
Gelernt also asked in court Tuesday for detailed information about all of the parents deemed ineligible, so they could verify those rejections were, in fact, warranted and valid.
"That is going to be a significant undertaking", Sabraw said on Tuesday of the next deadline. But only 56 out of about 85 children under five who are eligible for reunification will have been reunited with their parents by the Tuesday deadline. The government disputed that, saying it provides DNA testing at no cost to verify parentage.