Lawyers welcome U.S. court order to slow
deportations of separated families
Send a link to a friend
[July 17, 2018]
(Reuters) - Lawyers for immigrant
families separated at the border by the U.S. government said a federal
judge's order barring rapid deportations until at least next Tuesday
would give them breathing room as they struggled for access to clients.
The families had been separated amid a broader crackdown on illegal
immigration by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, sparking an
international outcry. The president ordered the practice stopped on June
Judge Dana Sabraw sided in Monday's order with the American Civil
Liberties Union, which argued that parents facing imminent deportation
should have a week to decide if they want to leave their children in the
United States to pursue asylum separately.
Sabraw asked the government to respond before the next hearing on July
24 in a case brought by the rights' group to challenge the separations.
Until then, he halted rapid deportations.
"I think it buys us a little bit of time," Jorge Baron, executive
director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said in a telephone
interview. "I am still uncertain we have made contact with all the
parents who are detained in our particular region."
His group has secured legal representation for several dozen separated
parents sent to government detention centers in Washington state. But
even on Monday, he said, he learned of an immigrant mother who had yet
to make contact with a lawyer.
"She might have slipped through the cracks," without the judge's order,
[to top of second column]
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their
parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump
administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in
their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas.
Last month, Sabraw set a July 26 deadline for the government to
reunite children who were separated from their parents at the border
with Mexico. Many of the immigrants are fleeing violence in
Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The judge's order on Monday gave lawyers more time to "figure out
what reunification is going to mean for our clients," said Beth
Krause, a supervising lawyer at the New York-based Legal Aid
Society's Immigrant Youth Project. Some mothers may decide to turn
down reunification if it meant their child could win asylum in the
United States, even if they themselves are deported, she said.
To that end, the Legal Aid Society filed a related lawsuit on Monday
seeking a court order requiring U.S. immigration officials to give
48 hours notice of planned family reunifications, allowing parents a
better chance to consult with lawyers in advance about asylum and
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Tom Hogue)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.