The Trump administration announced Thursday that it had completed a court-mandated effort to reunify toddlers separated from their families at the border.
According to the administration, of 103 children under age five separated from their families at the border, 57 had been reunited as of Thursday morning. Another 46 children were acknowledged by the court to be ineligible for reunification, including 22 whose adult family members were thought to pose a potential safety risk. Another dozen cases saw the adult accompanying the child deported before reunification could occur, while other adults remained jailed for other offenses.
"As of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed," Health and Human Services Security Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a joint statement. "Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment."
Public outrage over the separations led President Donald Trump to retreat last month from his "zero-tolerance" policy toward unlawful border crossings. Under the approach, parents and other caregivers apprehended after traversing the border were arrested and jailed, and the government placed their children with HHS.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw had ordered the administration to reunite all children under age 5 from their parents by July 10. The court has also required the administration to reunite the much larger group of older children by July 26.
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