"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", Chris Meekins of Health and Human Services Department said in the call.
The Justice Department also said that only 75 of the 102 children aged four and younger who were supposed to be returned to their parents by Tuesday are eligible for reunification.
'Our process may not be as quick as some would like, but there is no question it is protecting children, ' said Chris Meekins, a Health and Human Services Department official helping to direct the process.
Karen Tumlin, director of legal strategy at the National Immigration Law Center, said she interpreted Judge Dolly Gee's order on Monday as a rejection of large-scale family detention. They will be set free in the U.S. pending the outcome of their immigration cases, which can take several years. They claimed the adults in those cases were found to either have criminal histories, or were not the child's actual parent. Authorities were working to verify the parentage in 16 other cases, while in 20 other cases, the parent had already been removed from the United States or released from federal custody, Meekins said.
On June 26, Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, set the deadlines of Tuesday to reunite children under 5 with their families and July 26 for the rest of the children.
The child 'cannot be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year, ' the Justice Department said, adding that 'records show the parent and child might be US citizens'.
Friday's hearing was the latest in the ACLU lawsuit over the administration's family separations.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus
The Portugal superstar spoke about the club in the past tense after that game when he said: "We will talk in the future". Speculation has mounted that Juve may make a bid of £88m for Ronaldo, who has hinted that he could leave Real.
Wendy Young, president of the child advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, said doing that would be "family separation part 2".
On Tuesday morning, staff members at a nonprofit organization that has been housing numerous youngest children "made sure every backpack was full and every child got a hug and a goodbye", Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez said.
DOJ spokesman Devin O'Malley similarly suggested that the administration may keep parents in detention rather than releasing them with their children in a statement on Monday's Flores ruling. "Tell people not to come to our country illegally", he said. They have to conduct criminal background checks of the parents.
"Let me be clear: HHS could have transferred every child out of our care to a parent who is now in DHS custody today if we did not take into account child safety or whether the adult is actually the parent", HHS Chief of Staff Chris Meekins, told reporters. The first is to return to the Obama administration policy of releasing and monitoring families while they await deportation proceedings.
In this June 25 photo, a mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child while surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border, near McAllen, Texas. There is still one child that the government has no parental information on.
The American Civil Liberties Union received the list of the names of the almost 100 children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the border, according to a group spokesman. She said the kids were blameless and such an arrangement was not in their best interest.
On Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles rejected a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to amend a decades-old court settlement that limits the amount of time immigrant children can be held in federal custody.