U.S. government reunites 57 children under age 5 with parents; 46 others "ineligible"

Of the 103 children under the age of 5 who were separated from their families at the Mexican border, 57 of them are now back with their parents.

President Donald Trump's administration announced that today it completed the reunification of "eligible" minors, meeting the deadline dictated by a court order from the U.S. District Court in Southern California on June 26, 2018.

The other 46 children were not reunited with their parents for various reasons, including their safety, said the authorities in a statement issued jointly by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen, in which they state:

"Throughout the reunification process, our focus has been on the welfare of the children and their return to a safe environment."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prepared the following list and chart that provides more details on the progress and impediments to reunification of minors.

Graph HHS reunification of minors


There are 103 children under 5 years of age covered by the court case. 

  • 57 children were reunified as of 7:00 a.m. EST on July 12. EST on July 12.
  • 46 children do not qualify for reunification, according to the criteria approved by the court.

Of the 46 children still awaiting reunification with their parents:

22 children are not eligible due to safety concerns regarding adults:

  • 11 adults have serious criminal records (charges or convictions for child cruelty, kidnapping, murder, human trafficking and domestic violence, among others).
  • 7 who claimed children were not their biological parents
  • 1 adult had a forged birth certificate (paternity is being examined)
  • 1 adult allegedly abused the child
  • 1 adult planned to house the child with an adult accused of sexually abusing a child
  • 1 adult being treated for a communicable disease

24 children are currently ineligible for reunification due to adult circumstances:

  • 12 adults have already been deported
  • 9 adults are in federal custody for other crimes
  • 2 adults are in state prisons for other crimes.
  • 1 adult - no known whereabouts for more than a year

According to the order of the Federal Judge Dana M. SabrawIn the case of the Class Members lawsuit, nominated by former President George W. Bush, all other children age 5 or older separated from their parents at the border and covered by the lawsuit must be reunified no later than July 26, 2018.

Who are the persons covered by the claim?

According to Judge Sabraw's order, the lawsuit covers the following individuals:

All adult parents entering the United States at or between designated ports of entry who (1) have been, are, or will be detained in immigration custody by DHS, and (2) have a minor child who was or will be separated from them by DHS and detained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), ORR custody, or DHS custody, without a determination that the parent is unfit or poses a danger to the child.

It does not include immigrant parents with criminal records or communicable diseases, those who are in the interior of the United States or are subject to President Trump's executive order.