Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Judge Temporarily Halts Deportation of Reunified Families

Donde Están los Niños ?

JUDGE HALTS DEPORTATIONS OF REUNIFIED FAMILIES: U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw on Monday issued a temporary freeze on deportations of migrant parents who have been reunified with their children, POLITICO's Ted Hesson reports. 
The ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over the separations, called on the judge earlier in the day to halt deportations of parents for seven days from the date of reunification. The Justice Department opposed that, and Sabraw ruled that deportations of parents must stop pending the resolution of the matter. The DOJ will have until July 23 (next Monday) to file a response.
The judge also vacated an earlier order that required the administration to provide the ACLU with 12-hour advance notice for every parent-child reunification. Sabraw said providing an initial list of "cleared" parents would be sufficient, but that the government should inform the plaintiffs of an imminent reunification when possible. 
Sabraw — who blasted a Friday court filing from Chris Meekins, deputy assistant secretary of preparedness and response for HHS — appeared satisfied with an updated reunification plan that HHS issued Sunday. The federal judge also praised Commander Jonathan White, a department official who traveled to San Diego to answer the judge's criticisms. "I have every confidence that you are the right person to do this," Sabraw told White in court. "When I hear your testimony and look at the plan, it provides a great deal of comfort."
What's next: The parties must submit a status report by Thursday at 6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. PDT). They'll meet next in court on Friday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. PDT). Read more here.
Related case: U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ordered the Trump administration on Monday to keep a Guatemalan migrant in the U.S. until she can be reunited with her nine-year old son, part of a case in which three Central American migrants held in Texas are suing the administration over its "zero tolerance" immigration policy, Renuka Rayasam reports for Morning Shift. An immigration judge last week found the woman didn't have a valid reason for asylum and ordered her deportation. Read the order here.
EXCLUSIVE: HARRIS LEADS REUNIFICATION BILL: Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) will introduce a bill today that would require the Trump administration to reunite children separated from parents at the border. Its odds of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate are slim, but for Harris and Merkley — both mentioned as possible 2020 presidential contenders — it's another way to protest Trump's immigration crackdown. 
The measure calls for immediate reunification of children split apart from a parent or legal guardian and the establishment of a federal office to oversee the process. In addition, it would require parents' release from detention unless they pose "a substantial risk" to themselves or others. The legislation stipulates that DNA samples used to determine parentage should not be employed to any other end, including immigration enforcement. In a blow to ICE, the measure would redirect $50 million in appropriations for its Enforcement and Removal Operations arm to pay for the reunification efforts. 
"Government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart," Harris said in a related announcement. The three senators will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. today with Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, at the Senate Radio and TV Gallery. Read the bill here and watch a livestream of the press event here.

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