On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters "under 3,000" children are now under HHS care, which includes the 100 under the age of 5. DHS has already started moving some parents to facilities closer to facilities where their children are being kept.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services said there were 2,047 children from separated families in its care but since then officials have refused to specify how many kids from separated families remain in custody.
Before the USA reunites a child with a parent, the government must make sure that children will be safe and determine whether a parent is fit, Jonathan White, deputy director for children's programs at the department's Office of Refugee Resettlement, said in a court filing.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for both children taken from their parents and those who came to the USA with an adult, is now trying to match families.
It added that given the possibility of false claims, "confirming parentage is critical to ensure that children are returned to their parents, not to potential traffickers", and that the government also needed to determine whether the adults had a criminal history or could present a danger to their children. However, parental relationships that can be verified more quickly through documentation and anecdotal means will be accepted to comply with the court order, he said.
About half of the parents of the 101 children are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But the reunification efforts have been complicated by the fact that government records assigning "family identification numbers" to immigrant families were reportedly deleted.
While illegal immigrant children have dogged the government for years, dating back to the Obama administration, this latest go-around has been more pointed because some of it is a result of President Trump's get-tough policy on the border.
We are "confirming that people claiming to be their parents are their parents", Azar said on "America's Newsroom".
Officials have said they'll comply with the judge's order, but they haven't specified what steps they'll take to do that.
AP said DistrictCourt Judge Dana Sabraw set another hearing for Monday in San Diego. While the court's order included no dates and covers all families who were separated by the Trump administration, the Justice Department is requesting that only those separated after March 9 be counted - the date the class action lawsuit was filed.
The latest information we have was provided to CNN by a USA government source: a map showing that the 2,047 separated unaccompanied minors who were in custody of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement as of June 25 were scattered across 16 states.
The department has manually reviewed the cases of all 11,800 children in its custody by working nights and weekends, White said.
On Thursday, a leading House Republican and Democrat teamed-up to request from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen documents and other information about each child separated from their parents, including where they are being detained and for how long.