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"They are not aspirational goals", Sabraw said.

The Trump administration began widely administering DNA tests to children in its care after its "zero tolerance" policy saw more than 2,000 children separated from their parents, and in the process lost numerous crucial paperwork needed to identify and track them as they were moved to shelters around the country.

The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite perhaps 2,000 or so older children who were also separated from their families at the border in the past few months.

'Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children, ' said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official helping to direct the process.

In trying to meet the first deadline, the government began with a list of 102 children potentially eligible to be reunited and whittled that to 75 through screening that included DNA testing done by swabbing the inside of the cheek. While parents are held in jail to await trial by a judge, children are moved into accommodation managed by an HHS agency.

Around the country on Tuesday, social workers, lawyers and immigration advocates waited for information about the fate of children in their care.

The children have been in the custody of Bethany Christian Services. He also set July 26 as the deadline to reunite almost 3,000 children over age 5.

"The court has a range of options from significant fines to other types of relief", said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. Two boys and a girl who had been in temporary foster care in Grand Rapids, have been reunited with their Honduran fathers after they were separated at the US-Mexico border about three months ago.

Government officials reportedly told at least four immigrant women to pay for the DNA tests being used to reunite separated migrant families - a practice that could be a violation of federal law.

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Most of the parents will be released into the USA from immigration detention centers, and the children will be freed from government-contracted shelters.

More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents by USA immigration authorities at the border this spring before Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with diplomats from those countries in Guatemala on Tuesday to discuss U.S. immigration policies.

Immigration attorney Iliana Holguin, who works with the shelter, said some of her clients have been ordered to pay $700 to $800 to prove their relationship to the government.

The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two children under five who meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday.

One boy, from El Salvador, was due to be released to his mother, according to Beth Krause, the supervising attorney of Legal Aid's Immigrant Youth Project.

Before departing the White House for Europe, Trump said, "That's the solution".

Asked Tuesday morning about the missed deadline, Trump said: 'Well, I have a solution.

Some of the separated families arrived at United States ports of entry seeking asylum, which is not illegal.


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