A federal judge in San Diego issued an order on July 16 to suspend the deportation of newly reunited immigrant families for up to one week. This recent ruling was the latest step in the legal battle over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, under which immigrant parents are charged with criminal violations for illegally entering the United States are separated from their children.
The Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had asked Judge Dana Sabraw to delay deportations a week after reunification. According to a court filing, the ACLU’s request is a response to the rumors that “mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification.”
The organization claims parents need a certain amount of time to understand the ramifications with their children and also hear from the child’s legal counsel or advocate. Immigrant parents may wish to leave their child in the U.S. to pursue asylum separately.
Judge Sabraw stated that the government’s policy is a possible violation of the immigrants’ due process rights and ordered the administration to reunify all children within 30 days. The government faces a deadline of July 26 to reunite the remaining 2,551 minors with their parents.
So far, children under the age of five years old are the only group that finished, reuniting 57 children with their parents. However, the government is still trying to find a parent for 71 children under its care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Many of the immigrants separated from their children were seeking asylum after feeling crime and violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Children were sent to various care facilities throughout the nation, while their parents were incarcerated in immigration detention centers or federal prisons.