DNA testing being used to reunite separated undocumented families, HHS secretary says
The government is hoping to meet court deadlines to reunite migrant children separated at the border.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the reunited families will remain in custody. But a federal judge in California has ordered the youngest children reunited by Tuesday and the rest before the end of the month.
Azar said DNA testing is being used to speed up matching parents and children. As of Thursday, the government has more than 230 people working on reunification.
The Health and Human Services Department for years has cared for unaccompanied minors crossing the border.
The testing is also meant to keep migrant children from being trafficked or smuggled by people claiming to be parents. No word on how long the practice has been going on.
Organizations supporting undocumented immigrants are calling the move deplorable. They say the government is collecting sensitive data from children that could be used against them.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services said more than 2,000 children from separated families are in its care.
Since then, officials have refused to specify how many kids from separated families remain in custody.