A federal judge on Tuesday told the Trump administration to adhere to the deadline for reuniting children separated from their parents under the “zero tolerance” policy, even as officials have said they’ll be unable to meet it. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw stuck to his Tuesday deadline for the youngest children to be returned to their parents, despite government officials indicating they’d be unable to meet the target. “These are firm deadlines; they are not aspirational goals,” Sabraw said. “I would like the process to continue as expeditiously as it has been with paramount focus on the children’s welfare.” The judge additionally asked for an update from the government on the reunification process by Thursday. Government lawyers said that U.S. officials will only be able to reunite 75 of 102 children under the age of 5 in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The others are not eligible to be reunited because their parents have criminal records, haven’t been verified or have been otherwise ruled unfit.
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