US officials have reunited 57 children under age five with their parents who crossed the border without authorization, but nearly four dozen remain separated beyond a court-ordered deadline, the White House said today.
The Donald Trump administration has faced domestic and international outcry over its announced "zero tolerance" policy of arresting all those who cross the border illegally, and separating parents from the children they brought with them.
The US president has been under intense pressure to reunite nearly 3,000 children with their families.
A federal judge ordered the reunification of all children under five with their families by July 10.
The remaining 46 children were deemed "ineligible" due to multiple concerns over their guardians, including 11 adults with serious criminal history like charges or convictions for murder, child cruelty, smuggling or domestic violence.
Seven adults were determined not to be the child's parent and 12 parents had already been deported.
One child under age five has been detained for more than a year because the parent's location is not known, DHS said.
"The American people gave this administration a mandate to end the lawlessness at the border, and President Trump is keeping his promise to do exactly that," HHS Secretary Alex Azar, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a joint statement announcing the reunifications.
"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," they added.