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But reuniting the remainder has proved to be a much tougher task for Justice and immigration officials, who for months separated migrant families at the U.S-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. We are just asking that the parent be given back their child. After reunification, they face a series of other obstacles - including long, complex legal proceedings, and possibly deportation. Afterwards, the ACLU expanded its suit on behalf of the other parents and children the government planned to imminently separate.

Sabraw, an appointee of Republican President George W Bush, said on Monday (Tuesday NZT) that he was "very encouraged" by the efforts to reunite families by his deadline, calling it "real progress".

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the children, urged the judge to order the process be sped up, saying the children need to be returned to parents as quickly as possible. "And so the government says the tension is between a fast release and a safe release".

As the government awaits the court's Monday decision on whether or not the timeline for family reunification will be extended, time is of the essence: doctors have repeatedly warned that being separated from parents for even short periods of time can cause symptoms of toxic stress in children, which can derail healthy emotional development. The government has said only 3 of the children had accompanying adults that were found to not be their parents. An additional 20 children have purported parents with whom they can not be reunited because those adults have already been either removed from the United States or released into the country, which removes DHS and HHS's ability to force them to come get the children they claim are theirs. Another parent planned to live in a household with an adult who had an outstanding warrant for sexual abuse of a child and can not be reunited unless they identify a different place to live, according to the filing.

The Trump administration reunited only four children under age 5 with the parents it separated them from at the border before Tuesday and expects to rejoin at least 34 others by the end of the day, according to documents filed in court. "There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months".

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the almost 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

"They're working nights and weekends to comply with the judge's orders".

Parents were taken into criminal custody and then held in immigration detention centers, deported or released in the United States.

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.

Also Friday, Fabian said 19 parents were deported and 19 were released.

In the filing, the ACLU criticized the government's work reuniting the children with their parents.

Lee Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer handling the case, said the government is taking the reunification demands seriously, though he said he thinks the government can do better than the 54.