The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] agency said [notice, PDF] Thursday it needs more time to accurately identify the parents of detained immigrant children. The response follows a June 26 court order [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Southern District of California [official website].
ICE wrote that they would be using DNA testing to identify the parents and that they had been
[W]orking diligently on complying with the Court’s reunification directives…understand the urgent concerns underpinning the Court’s order… and have dedicated immense resources and effort to reunifying families, and personnel at the highest levels of the agencies have been involved in implementing the Court’s directives… Although HHS is moving expeditiously to undertake these DNA tests, that process takes meaningful time, even when it is expedited—as this Court has implicitly recognized.
The original injunction [order, PDF] applies to all immigrant families, unless “the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child.” The US government is barred from continuing to detaining and separating migrant families, and if detained parents are released their minor child or children must also be released. The court gave the government a 14 day deadline for reunifying families with children under the age of five, and 30 days for minor children over five.