AP NEWS

Just 38 children guaranteed to be reunified by border separation deadline

July 10, 2018 GMT

The Trump administration told a federal judge that just 38 of the original 102 young children it was supposed to reunify will definitely be released to family members by the Tuesday deadline.

The number is far less than the 54 the administration had suggested just a day earlier, and it underscores the government’s continued struggles to clean up after President Trump’s zero tolerance policy collapsed amid legal and public relations problems.

Sarah Fabian, a Justice Department lawyer, said of the original 102 children under age 5 identified as potentially separated from their parents, only 75 turned out to be eligible for reunification.

Four have already been reunited with some family, while 34 others should be reunited by the end of the day, the government said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is arguing the case on behalf of the parents, said that success rate wasn’t good enough.

The ACLU said the government hasn’t even reached out to 12 parents who were already deported while their kids were in U.S. custody, leaving those children stranded. Another eight parents have been released while their children were still in custody, and the government won’t be able to return their children yet either.

Still other parents still have yet to undergo DNA testing to match them to their purported children. The ACLU said the government hasn’t been able to explain why that is taking so long.