World Bulletin/News Desk
A federal judge in California on Monday temporarily halted any deportations of reunited migrant families the Trump administration may carry out for at least a week.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked Judge Dana Sabraw to delay possible deportations for a week after reunifications take place due to "persistent and increasing rumors –which Defendants have refused to deny –that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification.”
The civil rights group said reunited immigrant families need at least a week to decide whether to pursue asylum in the U.S.
"The decision has become much more complex in recent weeks because the Attorney General has issued a decision that purports to restrict asylum protection for individuals who fear so-called ‘private violence,’ including domestic violence and violence by brutal gangs," the ACLU said in court filings.
"As a result of the Attorney General’s (patently unlawful) asylum decision, it will be that much more difficult to advise families about whether a child will ultimately prevail in his or her asylum claim, or instead will spend years by themselves in the United States fighting their case in the immigration courts, only to be removed at the end of the day," it added.
Sabraw gave the Justice Department until next Monday to respond to the ACLU's filing, according to The Associated Press. He is expected to rule after that deadline.
The administration had taken the unprecedented step of separating undocumented migrant children from their parents as part of President Donald Trump's hardline crackdown on illegal immigration.
Trump was forced to change course on the separation after his hardline immigration policy referred all apprehended undocumented adults for criminal prosecution -- a break with past administrations who limited criminal referral for most adults who illegally cross into the U.S. with their juvenile family members.
Thousands of children remain separated from their families as the administration seeks to reunify them, and a court ruled last week that the administration cannot detain immigrant families long-term, upholding a 20-day time limit a child can be held in custody, and casting into doubt the future of Trump's immigration agenda.
Sabraw ruled last month that the administration must reunite the children with their parents it separated them from.
The administration reunited just about half of the children under 5 years of age with their parents last week. The administration faces another deadline July 26 to reunite the remainder of the more than 2,000 children who remain separated from their families.
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