The Department of Justice (DOJ) is demanded from a federal judge to give them more time to reunite the thousands of families separated.
NBC News wrote that the DOJ requested an extension of the court-mandated deadlines to reunite children with their parents. Attorneys for the U.S. government as a reasoning for the request said that the deadlines do not take into account the time needed to verify and vet each parent.
The court ruled last week that children under the age of five must be returned to their parents by July 10, while the rest of the children be returned by July 26.
A federal judge also ruled that all parents must be able to speak with their children within 10 days and that the government is prohibited from deporting any parent without their child.
“The government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunification,” lawyers for the Justice Department said in their response to the court, according to NBC.
“At the same time, however, the government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of the child.”
The request comes a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC News that the government was using DNA testing to help reunite parents with their children.
The government on Friday asked the judge to clarify how many children it should be attempting to reunite with parents, adding that it’s been difficult to locate parents who have already been deported.
President Donald Trump in June signed an executive order to end the administration’s practice of separating families at the southern border.
Trump previously was faced with a wave of criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for his zero tolerance immigration policy.