Feds tell judge they'll miss deadline to reunite youngest children separated from parents

Deadline to reunite families approaching

EL PASO, Texas -- The government admitted in federal court on Monday that it will not be able to meet a judge's deadline to reunite all kids under 5 years old who were separated from their parents at the border.

"The government is planning on reuniting at most 59 of the 102 kids that they have identified for under 5-years-old," said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union suing the government on behalf of migrant families.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says at least 44 kids will remain in their custody past the deadline. The parents for nine children have been deported and haven't been found. Twelve parents are facing criminal charges and nine have been released and have been lost track of. HHS says they are carefully vetting parents to protect children's safety.

The government is also facing a July 26 deadline for the rest of the 3,000 minors separated from a parent at the border.

CBS News spoke to one parent named Mario who hasn't seen his 10-year-old daughter for more than a month after they crossed the border illegally. Criminal charges were dropped against him, but his daughter remains in an El Paso shelter.

"They promised me when I was set free I would see my daughter in two days," he said. "It has been 14 days that I have been here."

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.