Alex Azar, the USA health secretary, said yesterday that officials were using DNA taken from cheek swabs of some 3,000 migrant children separated from their families and now under the agency's custody.
DNA cheek swab tests on parent and child take almost a week to complete, said White, who called the risk of placing children with adults who aren't their parents "a real and significant child welfare concern". Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It will be done, he vowed.
In his written opinion, the judge criticized the government, saying, "The facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance - responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making".
Mr Azar said the DNA tests were needed to comply with a court deadline to reunite the separated families.
By July 6, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child.
Hours before a hearing in San Diego, the Justice Department filed papers seeking an extension of the deadline, which is July 10 for parents with children under 5 and July 26 to reunite everyone else.
Ahead of Friday's hearing, HHS chief Alex Azar told reporters that the deadlines seemed "extreme" and "artificial"-enraging immigrant rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers".
He said the DNA testing was necessary to quickly reunite the children, because the agency's traditional method of using birth records would take too long. He added that some children may have been separated before or after crossing in to the US. Advocates said the practice has traumatized families.
The officials said the records weren't deleted deliberately to hide the family ties, but because the customs agents thought it was more logical to track cases separately rather than as a family unit.
Activists have begun to fear that data derived from DNA tests might be exploited by the government for other purposes. He also said that adults can not be deported from the United States without their children.
Trump has spoken out repeatedly against lengthy judicial processes to determine migrants' eligibility for immigration, asylum or deportation, arguing they are a waste of United States resources.
The secretary repeated slammed the court system for its deadlines and called the order 'unprecedented'.
Attorneys representing migrant families told CNN some of their clients have been approached by individuals who identified themselves as health officials or were wearing military-style clothing.
If and when children are released to adults who are now in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, it is not yet clear what will happen to them.
The separation of children as young as 3 from their parents led to protests and public outcry. 'That's the simplest way to avoid this is to follow our laws, respect our border'. Families were separated at the border so the adults could be prosecuted for illegal entry as part of a new zero tolerance policy.
This isn't a ideal equation; we don't know whether the children released from HHS custody were reunited with parents - only that they're no longer in one of the agency's shelters.
The preliminary injunction gives the administration until Tuesday to reunite parents and children under age 5, and until July 26 to reunite parents and children age 5 and older.
Logistically, that's "not the easiest task", Azar said. "You've taken the child from the parent".
'We have plan in place to get job done while maintaining safety of children in our care, ' he said.