In a press call later Tuesday, HHS officials and officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggested that there was nothing stopping those parents from consulting with consulate authorities to find their children.
"The judge made it very clear he wasn't going to allow the Trump administration to drag its feet on reunifying these children with their parents", Gelernt said.
The officials said 46 of the children were not eligible to be reunited with their parents; a dozen parents had already been deported and were being contacted by the administration. She said locations would not be publicly disclosed, but children have been sent to shelters across the country. Last week, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there were "under 3000" separated children in all.
The Trump administration said it expects to reunite just 38 of the 102 youngest immigrant children separated from their parents by Tuesday's court-imposed deadline.
Javier, a 30-year old from Honduras, holds his 4-year old son William during a media availability in NY after they were reunited after being separated for 55 days following their detention at the Texas border, U.S., July 11, 2018.
Immigrant parents who reveled after joyful reunions with their young children spoke Wednesday of the traumatic impact of being separated from their sons and daughters for months after they were taken from them at the US border. The adults may be required to wear ankle monitors while their cases wind through immigration court, a process that can take years.
The practice of separating families has been part of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy, which refers anyone detained at the border for prosecution, including those seeking asylum in the United States.
The government has said some children were not eligible for reunification because the parent was deported, had a criminal record or was otherwise unfit.
Now the family detention system is at capacity - as are a network of about 100 shelters for migrant minors who traveled into the US without parents or a guardian and who now wait anywhere from a few weeks to years to have their cases resolved in the immigration courts.
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.
ICE has three family detention centres with room for about 3000 people in all, and the places are already at or near capacity.
Also, on Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles emphatically rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families for an extended period.
Some attorneys and advocates prepared for Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) reunions with little information. Such testing, they said, is usually reserved for circumstances in which there are questions about the relationship between the parent and child. The ACLU contends that there may be more separated children that the government has not counted. Their three-year-old sons were in temporary foster care in Grand Rapids while they were in a jail in Battle Creek. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw subsequently declined to issue an extension, demanding instead that government lawyers return to court to explain why they would be unable to reunite the remaining children with their families by July 10. In court proceedings earlier this week, officials said it is possible that one young child held in federal custody for more than a year is a USA citizen.
"Judges run the system and illegals and traffickers know how it works".