The Trump administration told a district judge in California on Monday that it will only be able to reunite about half of the migrant children under age five with their families by Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The deadline was imposed last month by a federal judge, who ordered the Trump administration to reunite families that were separated as a result of its "zero tolerance" policy by July 26th, and to reunite children under the age of five with their parents by July 10th.
Last week, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Alex Azar said that officials were working to meet the deadlines, but by that evening the Department of Justice had filed a motion asking for an extension. DHS has been using an expedited DNA verification process to quickly confirm family relationships, but the Times reported at the time that "the government worrie[d] that some cases could prove to be more complex and might not be verified by the imposed deadline."
Though the government expects 54 of the 102 identified children under five to be reunited with their parents by Tuesday's deadline, as of Monday afternoon, only two had actually been reunited, the Times reports.
"It's extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parents," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a statement on Sunday. "These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain." The ACLU sued earlier this year to force the government to reunite migrant families.