That agency has formed a task force aimed a reuniting those children with their parents. Decisions whether or not to prosecute are the purview of the Department of Justice. Some children were still in the border patrol's custody when their parents finished criminal proceedings for crossing into the US, the statement said, and those families were then transferred together to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to face deportation proceedings.
Trump administration officials say the USA government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has dedicated the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Texas as the primary family reunification center.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Sarah Isgur Flores, denied that prosecutions would be suspended.
"Zero Tolerance" is a policy US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April, declaring that all immigrants apprehended while crossing the US-Mexico border illegally should be criminally prosecuted.
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A fact sheet on "zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification" released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security also says a parent must request that their child be deported with them.
Adults who cross illegally will continue to face misdemeanor charges under the "zero tolerance" policy implemented six weeks ago, the official said.
The Washington Post later clarified that their source "was describing how the [Border Patrol's] operations would change to no longer refer parents of migrant children for prosecution".
How the government would reunite families has been unclear because the families are first stopped by Customs and Border Patrol, with children taken into custody by HHS and adults detained through ICE. The rest entered the US unaccompanied by a caregiver.
The release said that 522 children, who were in the custody of Customes and Border Protection (CBP), had been reunited with their families. "We're going to watch closely and do what we need to do".