Trump administration says it may not meet deadline to reunite separated families

Trump administration says it may not meet deadline to reunite separated families

The Trump administration argued in a court hearing Friday that it may not be able to fully comply with a federal judge's order to reunite nearly 3,000 children separated from their parents by the end of the month. The administration must reunite about 100 children under age 5 by Tuesday, and all other minors by July 26. But government lawyers said there is too much work to do and too many questions about the judge's order to meet his strict deadlines. During the hearing, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian said the government is stuck between the court's strict deadlines and legal requirements that children in government custody be released only into safe environments. "There really has been a massive effort on the part of the government to get the resources in place on the ground to make reunification happen in accordance with the court’s order," Fabian said. But, "there's always going to be tension between a fast release and a safe release." The request for more time came a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar held a conference call where he assured reporters that the administration would reunite all the children that had been separated. Azar criticized the ruling, but vowed to meet the court-imposed deadlines.