A federal judge signed today a preliminary agreement under which the Donald Trump government is required to reconsider hundreds of asylum claims from families that were separated at the border, mostly under its "zero tolerance" policy.
Judge Dana Sabraw, who is presiding over the litigation in a San Diego (California) court, today described as "excellent" the agreement reached by government lawyers and affected families in three class
"It seems we are very close to ending this," said the magistrate on the case, which forced the government to reunify more than 2,000 immigrant children who were separated from their parents on the border
The agreement, pending a final hearing in November, states that parents and minors should be given another opportunity to have their asylum requests or other protections against deportation evaluated.
Parents with an order of deportation, parole or incarceration willnhave a new interview with the Immigration and Citizenship Service
(USCIS) to determine if there is "credible fear" of persecution.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must use their discretion to cancel any presentation order or stop any immigration process for children who have already been reunified with their parents in detention, so that the family's asylum application is reconsidered.
According to the latest federal report, 2,296 of the 2,654 children who were separated from their parents at the border have been reunified.
Of the remaining group, 136 children continue to be under the care of the Office of Refugee Relocation (ORR), 96 of them, of parents who have already been deported from the country.
Another 219 children will not be eligible for reunification, either because the parents themselves waived that right or in other cases acriminal record was detected, which is why the government considers that the child is at risk.
Lee Gelernt, lawyer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed one of the three lawsuits, said that of the group of parents who were deported, they have not yet been able to locate ten of them.
Sabraw urged both parties to accelerate the process so that they can identify and know if the parents renounce reunification or ask that the child be transferred to their country of origin.
Gelernt told the judge that they have detected that when ICE handles repatriations to Central America it does not notify the parents beforehand.
ACLU requested that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) take charge of this process, to avoid these setbacks.
Scott Stewart, attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ), clarified that ICE is in charge of a small group of transfers and that they will supervise the situation to solve those problems.