The U.S. government under President Donald Trump has been ordered to end the rapid deportation of immigrant parents just reunited with their children giving families time to consider asylum for the kids.
The American Civil Liberties Union, who won the request, stated in court papers that the immigrant parents who were just reunited with their children after several weeks of forced separation by the government and who face fast deportation should have a week to decide if they want their child to remain in the United States to pursue asylum.
"A one-week stay is a reasonable and appropriate remedy to ensure that the unimaginable trauma these families have suffered does not turn even worse because parents made an uninformed decision about the fate of their child," the rights group wrote.
Between early May and mid-June, approximately 2,550 families were separated upon entering the U.S. at the Mexican border as part of the administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy to deter Central Americans from entering the country without documentation. The majority of these families were seeking asylum but were arrested anyway, forcing thousands of children to be sent to temporary detention centers — Trump camps — throughout the United States, while parents were arrested.
International protest against the controversial and questionable legal practice convinced the president to end family separations June 20.
Six days later, U.S. district court judge, Dana Sabraw - who ordered Monday’s one week reprieve of rapid deportations for these parents - ruled that the administration had to reunite all families by July 26, and those with children under five years of age, by July 10.
Judge Sabraw set July 24 as the date of the next hearing. Until then he has halted rapid deportations.
A government attorney tried to argue that fast deportations or Rapid REPAT (Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer) actually helped reunifications by somehow creating space for families in detention.
"The idea this would slow or stop reunifications, that's not an option," said Sabraw. "If space is an issue, the government will make space."
Jonathan White from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services informed the court that all children under the age of five have been reunited, but that the parents of 71 minors still had not been identified or located.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Rapid REPAT, which came into effect in 2007, allows “criminal aliens ... to accept early release in exchange for voluntarily returning to their country of origin.”
Since May Trump has been clamoring to make it easier to deport faster. In late June he tweeted, "We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came."