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More than 500 migrant children reunited with families or guardians, officials say

More than 500 migrant children reunited with families or guardians, officials say
Clergy from various faiths chant outside the Otay Mesa Detention Center on Saturday at a rally for immigrant families separated at the border in San Diego. (David Maung / EPA-EFE/REX/Shutters)

Federal officials have reunited 522 migrant children with their parents or guardians after they were separated as part of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement late Saturday.

An additional 16 children who were scheduled to be reunited with their parents on Friday were delayed because of bad weather affecting travel, federal officials said. Those children were expected to be reunited with their parents in the next 24 hours.

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An unspecified “small number” of children who were taken from their parents by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for reasons other than the zero tolerance policy will remain separated, generally in cases in which the familial relationship cannot be confirmed or the adult is viewed as a threat to the child’s safety, federal officials said.

It was understood that some families separated under the policy, which Trump rescinded on Wednesday, had been reunited but Saturday’s press release included the first official tally. Before the announcement, officials had said that about 2,400 children had been separated from their parents.

Officials also announced Saturday that they have a process established to ensure that parents and children are able to communicate while they are separated and that they will be reunited prior to deportation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has dedicated the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Los Fresnos, Texas, as the “primary family reunification and removal center for adults in their custody.”

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