The administration defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories, five adults whose DNA tests showed they were not parents of the children they claimed to have, and one case of credible child abuse.
Handout/Reuters Baby and toddler high chairs are seen at the Bristow facility, in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Bristow, Virginia.
Earlier in June, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back family separations, a policy his own administration implemented.
US District Judge Dolly Gee said the government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.
Fifty-seven children were reunited with their parents as of Thursday morning, administration officials said.
"If in fact 57 children have been reunited because of the lawsuit, we could not be more happy for those families", he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle McConaghy told the judge the government has a plan to reunify all parents and children by the deadline.
On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers told Sabraw they would reunite 38 children by the deadline.
The Trump administration said it identified about 100 children under age 5 who were likely separated from their parents at the border, but as of Tuesday said some could not yet be reunited, in part due to an intensive screening process typically used for minors who come to the USA alone before they are released to sponsors.
The officials said 46 of the children were not eligible to be reunited with their parents; a dozen parents had already been deported and were being contacted by the administration. They say officials recklessly split up families without any idea of how to bring them back together. And one adult each had a "falsified birth certificate", was "alleged to have abused the child" and was "being treated for a communicable disease".
Trump Slams NYT For Critical Article On US Stance on Breastfeeding
The administration also denied that US officials had threatened trade sanctions in the debate over the breastfeeding resolution. The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution.
In trying to meet the first deadline, the government began with a list of 102 children potentially eligible to be reunited and whittled that to 75 through screening that included DNA testing done by swabbing the inside of the cheek.
Most of the parents reunited with the youngest children this week were being released from custody on ankle monitoring devices to await immigration hearings.
The government said 24 children are now not eligible to be reunited with parents "due to circumstances of the adults in question", 11 of whom are in criminal custody with either the U.S. Marshals Service or state jails.
More than 2000 children were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before US President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an global outcry.
In New York, attorney Michael Avenatti- the lawyer best known for representing the porn actress Stormy Daniels- said it took two tries plus a series of tweets Wednesday before he was allowed to see two Honduran girls, ages 9 and 5, who were separated from their family at the border in June, and sent to New York.
The Department of Justice reported their list in a hearing on Tuesday in which they revealed to the American Civil Liberties Union that the missing father, as well as the child, "might be" USA citizens.
In a call with reporters, DHS's Matthew Albence said the 12 adults who have already been deported had an opportunity to take their children with them, but declined.
The distance between many children and their parent or parents have been coupled with logistical challenges and resulted in a major bureaucratic snag.
"I've asked the government for numbers and they should have told me by now", he told Reuters.