A federal judge on Monday ordered the Trump administration not to deport immigrant families immediately after they have been reunited with the children the government forcibly took away.
Following a motion filed by the ACLU, Judge Dana Sabraw issued a temporary stay on immediate deportations, instead allowing recently reunified families a week to remain in the United States to pursue asylum requests.
Arguing that the government was obligated to give the detained families the right to consider asylum, the ACLU said in its filing that:
Those conditions cannot be met if, as here, the government has detained a child separately from the person responsible for safeguarding the child’s legal rights—her parent—until it is too late for the parent to do so.
Judge Sabraw also ordered the government’s attorneys to confer with the ACLU in order to figure out how best to coordinate advance warning to charity groups managing the logistics of reuniting children with their parents. The order comes after reports of infant children being left at bus stops with their parents for hours, or parents being turned away from reunification appointments due to computer errors.
Sabraw, who has overseen the bulk of the reunification process, had been intensely critical of the Department of Health and Human Services’ handling of reunifications, having last week accused HHS of “not [understanding] the court’s orders or... acting in defiance of them.”
Per Sabraw’s ruling, the government has one week to file a response to the ACLU’s motion, after which he will make a permanent decision on delaying post-reunion deportations.