Children take part in a protest against U.S. immigration policies. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP via Getty Images

Hours after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that the agency would comply with the deadline imposed by a court order to reunite migrant families, the Trump administration filed a request for more time in cases where it is difficult to match migrant children with their parents.

The big picture: The Trump administration is now working to reunite roughly 3,000 migrant children who have been placed in the custody of HHS with their parents — both those who were separated under the zero-tolerance policy and before. So far, they have matched 40 parents in immigration custody with some of the 101 children under 5 years old, and another 9 parents have been located in criminal custody, the Washington Post reports.

  • In the court filing, the Trump administration notes that if parents have already been released from ICE detention — or have already been reported — it will likely be much more difficult for them to ensure their unification with their child. The administration also asked for clarification on whether they are required to unite children with parents who have already been deported.

One big question: The Flores Agreement is still in place, which prevents the government from detaining children for more than 20 days. Regardless, the Trump administration has said they are interpreting the latest court injunction as requiring them to keep migrant children in detention with their parents for longer periods of time if need be.

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