According to NBC News, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw has ordered U.S. officials and the ACLU to create a plan to help undocumented immigrant families seek asylum.
Sabraw’s request was made during a hearing on Friday, in which he extended the current freeze on the deportation of reunited migrant families. Sabraw claimed that the “hasty removal of these children and their parents at the expense of an ordered process provided by law” would only harm the migrant children’s right to seek asylum.
Following that order, Sabraw also requested that both the ACLU and U.S. officials reach an agreement about whether or not some of the parents who were already deported without their children should be reunited with them in order to seek asylum together as a family.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt claims that some of those parents should, in fact, be reunited with their children, noting that a decent portion of the parents were under the impression that they would be reunited with their kids if they agreed to be deported.
So far, around 366 migrant parents were deported to their native countries without their children and still have yet to be reunited.
The government, however, has strongly opposed delaying deportations, insisting that these parents “waived the rights of their children to pursue asylum claims,” as soon as they signed their deportation papers.
According to Sabraw, the deportation freeze, which he first ordered on July 16, would help the 2,500 remaining minors who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and “would not unfairly or unduly tax available government resources.”
“The court is upholding the rights provided to all persons under the United States Constitution,” Sabraw said, “rights that are particularly important to minor children seeking refuge through asylum.” Sabraw also noted that many of these families were fleeing their native countries in the first place due to violence and persecution, claiming that their appeals for asylum should at least be heard and considered.
Only days after President Trump signed an executive order halting the zero-tolerance policy that his administration implemented, Sabraw requested that children under the age of five be reunited with their families within the span of 14 days and older children be allowed to rejoin their parents in 30 days. Sabraw’s order was made at the height of public outrage back in late June.
As of Saturday afternoon, 2,089 migrant children have been successfully reunited with their parents or guardians, however, more 560 still remain separated.