The Trump administration has not reunited a single migrant child with their families, the secretary of Health and Human Services said, but vows the agency will meet the court-ordered July deadlines on the reunions.
"We want this to be as compassionate a process as it humanly can be", Azar said.
Though Sabraw didn't immediately grant the Trump administration a deadline extension, he scheduled another hearing for Monday and said he would consider an extension if the government could provide a master list of all the children and the statuses of their parents by then.
"When the government wants to marshal its resources to separate families, it has shown that it can do it quickly and efficiently, but when told to reunite families, it somehow finds it too hard and cumbersome to accomplish", Gelernt said.
Officials said about 40 parents of the 101 children under age 5 are in federal immigration custody, while another nine are in U.S. Marshal's custody, apparently for criminal proceedings.
The judge, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, set the deadline last week, writing that the "situation has reached a crisis level" and that the "chaotic circumstances" were of the government's own making.
The filing contained a description of steps undertaken by Health and Human Services to comply with the court order including deploying 115 additional personnel to the field, and contracting with 100 reunification managers who are deploying Friday and Saturday.
Falcon also said it's not possible the migrant children - some as young as two months old - are giving their consent to DNA testing. Trump's order stopped separations on June 20.
Ahead of Friday's hearing, HHS chief Alex Azar told reporters that the deadlines seemed "extreme" and "artificial"-enraging immigrant rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers".
Azar also warned illegal immigrants that the onus was on them to stay with their children.
In mid-June, the Department of Homeland Security said it separated almost 2,000 children from their parents in April and May after the Department of Justice announced a "zero-tolerance" policy to prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally.
'Once we reunify children with their parents, they will be in DHS custody and DHS will be in charge of further proceedings related to the parents and the child, ' Azar said. The administration stated in a court filing that determining which parents were separated from children "is extraordinarily time and resource intensive"-yet another sign that it did not keep adequate records to easily track the families it was separating at the border".
The states also argued they need to gather testimony from migrant parents and children who are in federal custody and could be moved to different detention centers at any time.
Under the approach, parents and other caregivers apprehended after crossing the border were arrested and jailed, and the government placed their children with HHS. Trump administration officials have been assailed in public by angry protestors. Releasing a child without a careful review could "expose him or her to trafficking or abuse", he said.
Generally, the legal bar for separating children from parents is extremely high, involving a finding that "the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child".
HHS had previously reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care.