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  • The court ordered the agencies to return the five migrants to the US by Feb. 29 so long as they want to come back.

    The court ordered the agencies to return the five migrants to the US by Feb. 29 so long as they want to come back. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 February 2020
Opinion

The lawyer said she found out of the deportations months after one of the migrants was back in Guatemala, where he was attacked by gang members.

United States Federal Judge Nathanael Cousins has found Wednesday the U.S. government in contempt after authorities deported five young migrants, seeking to remain in the country under a program for abused and neglected migrant children.

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Cousins issued the civil order last week after finding the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services violated a 2018 preliminary injunction. This bill obliges them to notify lawyers of any enforcement action against the young migrants in a class-action lawsuit in California.

"It is shocking the defendants didn't do their part to make sure ICE complied with a federal court order and they literally sent kids back to the lion's den," Mary Tanagho Ross, appellate staff attorney at Public Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project, said Wednesday.

The lawyer said she found out of the deportations months after one of the migrants was back in Guatemala, where he was attacked by gang members. Al Jazeera reported that a Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment on the case.

The court ordered the agencies to return the five migrants to the U.S. by Feb. 29 so long as they want to come back and to pay US$500 a day after that if they remains out of the country.

On Wednesday, a judge in Arizona also sided with migrants and asylum seekers who have long-complained about inhumane and unsanitary conditions in some Border Patrol facilities in the state.

The ruling came weeks after the conclusion of a seven-day trial in which lawyers for migrants who sued in 2015 argued that the agency holds immigrants in extremely cold, overcrowded, unsanitary and inhumane conditions.

The order makes permanent a preliminary injunction that U.S. District Court Judge David Bury issued in 2016 that requires the Tucson Sector to provide clean mats and thin blankets to migrants and asylum seekers held for longer than 12 hours and to allow them to clean themselves.

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