Detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center in 2014. The temporary home in Texas houses immigrant women and children detained at the border. Credit: Eric Gay/Associated Press

The government is in contact with the deported parents of 299 children who were separated from their families in the midst of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

During a hearing today, Department of Justice officials told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw they were working on contacting the parents of 26 other children, whom the government hadn’t been able to reach as of yesterday.

“The government has put in an enormous amount of work in the last seven days,” Sabraw said. “That is a very, very encouraging number.”

Among the latest reunification numbers for children ages 5 to 17: Nearly 1,600 are now with their parents. Another 559 whose parents aren’t eligible for reunification, because they waived reunification or have a red flag on a background check, remain in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody.

Last week, after the government proposed that the ACLU should take the lead on reunifications, Sabraw disagreed and said the burden should lie on the Trump administration. He ordered the government to come up with a reunification plan for parents who have been deported or released in the U.S. and that the ACLU create a steering committee to help with the process.

The government submitted its proposal yesterday, and Sabraw is giving the ACLU until Monday morning to file any objections.

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Laura C. Morel can be reached at lmorel@revealnews.org. Follow her on Twitter: @lauracmorel.

Laura C. Morel is a reporter for Reveal, covering immigration.

She previously was a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, where she covered criminal justice issues. She was a 2017 finalist for a Livingston Award, which recognizes young journalists, for an investigation with two other reporters into Walmart’s excessive use of police resources.

In 2016, Morel became one of Reveal’s inaugural investigative fellows. The program, aimed at increasing diversity among the ranks of investigative journalists, offers reporters embedded at their home outlets the training and mentoring to pursue an investigative project. Morel’s fellowship project exposed the extent of Florida’s gun theft problem.

Born and raised in Miami, Morel is fluent in Spanish. She is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.