SAN DIEGO (CN) – The Trump administration says it cannot reunite 46 immigrant children under age five with their families for a variety of reasons, several days past a court-ordered deadline to return the children.
As of Thursday morning, 57 children have been reunited with their parents. But in a joint statement federal agency heads say the 46 children will not be reunited because some parents have criminal histories, one parent is being treated for a communicable disease and several parents have already been deported. The government also said it found several adults aren’t parents of the children they were traveling with.
“Our agencies’ careful vetting procedures helped prevent the reunification of children with an alleged murderer, an adult convicted of child cruelty, and adults determined not to be the parent of the child,” according to the joint statement from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The American immigration system is the most generous in the world, but we are a nation of laws and we intend to continue enforcing those laws. Establishing the immigration system demanded of our political leaders by the American people for more than 30 years – one that serves the national interest – will allow our nation to further realize the foundation of freedom, safety, and prosperity we inherited from our Founders.”
Attorneys with the federal government and attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union will meet on Friday in Sabraw’s courtroom to discuss the reunification process for the approximately 2,900 children over the age of five who were separated from their parents.
At a Tuesday hearing in the case, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the government to streamline their vetting process to speed up the reunification process. Sabraw advised the government to limit DNA testing and home visits, which the government blamed for the delays.