"They are not aspirational goals", said the judge.
San Diego Judge Dana Sabraw on Monday gave the government more time to reunite the 102 children, among more than 2,300 minors split from their families as a outcome of Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that saw parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border.
The administration faces a second, bigger deadline - July 26 - to reunite perhaps 2,000 or so older children who were also separated from their families at the border in the past few months.
"Reunifications are ongoing throughout the day", said Chris Meekins, a senior official of the Department of Health and Human Services. The government has said it can't meet the July 10 deadline.
Of those 75, Justice Department attorneys told the court the government already reunited four children and would guarantee 34 others would be back with their parents by the end of today. Some received welcome news.
Older children have been ordered reunited with their families by July 26.
"The court has a range of options from significant fines to other types of relief", said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
It was an emotional moment when two young boys and a girl who were separated from their families at the U.S.
Authorities said most of the parents would be released into the USA from immigration detention centers, and the children would be freed from government-contracted shelters and foster care.
"Nobody likes to be held in contempt of court", said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration and asylum law at Cornell University.
U.S. service member killed in apparent insider attack in Afghanistan
The Taliban released a statement on Twitter saying an Afghan soldier fired on US troops in the province of Uruzgan, AFP reported. The attack comes a year after three U.S. special forces soldiers were shot dead by one of their Afghan colleagues.
In court filings, the ACLU has said the government is asking for needless provisions for reuniting families that would not happen if the families had not been separated in the first place.
Sabraw's order included exceptions that might threaten the safety of the child.
The government defended its screening, saying it discovered parents with serious criminal histories, five adults whose DNA tests showed they were not parents of the children they claimed to have, and one case of credible child abuse.
The US government came under fierce global criticism for forcibly separating thousands of migrant families, a lot of them from Central America and most seeking asylum due to violence in their home countries. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with diplomats from those countries in Guatemala on Tuesday to discuss U.S. immigration policies.
US District Judge Dolly Gee said Monday that the federal government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.
The Legal Aid Society in NY said it is representing at least two separated children under 5 years old that meet the judge's criteria for reunification on Tuesday.
One boy, from El Salvador, was to be released to his mother, according to attorney Beth Krause of Legal Aid's Immigrant Youth Project.
Asked Tuesday morning about the missed deadline, Trump said: 'Well, I have a solution.
On Monday, Sabraw, a George W. Bush appointee, said he was "very encouraged" by the Trump administration's "real progress" in reuniting illegal-immigrant families separated at the border.
Some of the separated families arrived at USA ports of entry seeking asylum, which is not illegal.