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Judge now orders Brazilian boys to be reunited with fathers by Thursday

CHICAGO -- The family reunification deadline has come and gone, but two Brazilian boys held in Chicago are still waiting to be reunited with their fathers.

This is one of thousands of cases across the country.

Today’s hearing was expected to address how the two boys will be reunited with their fathers, since they are still detained.

A federal judge ordered the boys be reunited with their fathers within 72 hours on Monday.  But, he has no authority to order the fathers' release from ICE custody. So it's unclear how the families will be reunited.

Officials detained the two fathers after they crossed the New Mexico border with their sons separately. Both families are from Brazil.

One boy turned 16 years old last week, the other is 9 years old. The 16 year old's father is being held by ICE in Texas, and the 9 year old's father is being held in New Mexico.

They have been held in shelters in Chicago since May, and a judge said they are suffering "irreparable" mental harm. He called the separation “arbitrary and conscious shocking”.

Tuesday marked the government’s court-ordered deadline to reunite children under 5 with their parents. But that hasn’t fully happened.

The judge has now ordered the reunification to take place by 1:48 p.m. Thursday. If that deadline is not met, the judge says he will call an emergency hearing to address the issue Friday at 10 a.m.

According to a Health and Human Services official, 38 children of the 102 identified, were returned to their families by Tuesday evening.