Starting in April, US authorities separated over 2,500 children from their parents at the border as part of Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, which criminally prosecuted any undocumented individual caught crossing the border.
Meanwhile, the ACLU is asking the federal judge for a new deadline of August 1 for more information on the reunifications which would the government's feet to the fire.
U.S. government attorneys said in court documents that they expected to reunite all of the 1,800 children they consider eligible for reunification by the deadline set in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in California's southern district court.
But on Monday, the government finally revealed some data in a court filing about its progress.
Another 217 parents were already released into the US, according to the court document, and the government is now reviewing cases for 463 parents that it believes are no longer in the USA and were most likely deported.
"We're seeing cases where parents are so distressed that they're not able to testify during their credible fear interviews", Brané added. Another 378 were released "in other appropriate circumstances", including discharges to other sponsors or children who had turned 18 years old.
Jose, a migrant father from Guatemala is separated from his 16-year-old daughter at the border.
It was an example, she said, "of how impossible it is to track these children once they are placed in the black hole of reunification".
Advocates said they were struggling to find immigrant families to confirm they had been matched with their children.
Of those found ineligible, 431 children have parents who are no longer in the U.S.
Other parents who were illiterate or spoke only indigenous languages said they could not understand the forms they were signing.
At one such facility in South Texas, the Port Isabel Detention Centre, the government has been labelling some parents as "released" while they are still in custody, according to Bethany Carson, who works for Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit advocacy group in Austin.
One document, prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), includes three checkboxes depicting the stark reality parents immediately face if they lose their immigration case: "I would like to take my child with me"; "I do NOT want to take my child with me", and "I do not have a lawyer and I want to talk with a lawyer". "It would be hard to expect that number of agencies to seamlessly coordinate a family reunification effort". The Justice Department said this week that the number was based on case files and under review, signaling it could change. When the families were separated, the children went to facilities all over the US meant for unaccompanied minors who come to the border alone.
The group also requested that the government elaborate on why dozens of parents were deemed "ineligible" for reunification.
There was an influx as government agencies worked to reconnect families before a court-imposed deadline on July 26th. More than 430 of those children's parents have been deported, many to countries that families left in order to flee violence.
Now the federal judge in San Diego who ordered the reunifications must decide how to address the hundreds of still-separated children whose parents have been deported, as well as how much time, if any, reunified parents should be allowed to file asylum claims.
The government, however, has argued for a shorter waiting period, saying the proposed extension of time by the ACLU would strap the already limited bed space at the country's detention centers and cost taxpayers an estimated $319 per day for each detained family member.