California Judge Rules Separated Migrant Families Must Be Reunited Within 30 Days [FULL DOCUMENT]
On Tuesday evening, a federal judge in California issued an injunction to momentarily halt President Donald Trump‘s administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal immigration, which has led to thousands of migrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Judge Stops Separation Of Immigrant Families With Injunction
The judge, Dana Sabraw of San Diego’s Federal District Court, ruled that immigrant families who have been split must be reunited within 30 days’ time. He also ordered that children under age 5 should be regrouped with their parents in 14 days or less. The judge also said parents and children should be permitted to communicate with each other within 10 days. Judge Sabraw also added in his ruling that families may only be split at the border if parents are determined to be dangerous for their children. He also ordered that parents cannot be deported back to their home countries without their children.
“The facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance — responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government’s own making,” Sabraw wrote in his ruling. “They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution. This is particularly so in the treatment of migrants, many of whom are asylum seekers and small children.”
Despite this, the Trump administration earned a victory earlier on Tuesday after the Supreme Court decided 5-4 to uphold its travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries and North Korea. The Justice Department and the administration had been sparring over the issue since the latter instituted the ban just days into Trump’s presidency in January 2017.
Last week, Trump issued an executive order to stop the separation of families at the southern border, after many people from both sides of the political spectrum — and the United Nations — heavily criticized the “zero-tolerance” policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House adviser Stephen Miller — among others — helped introduce this policy a few weeks ago and have since staunchly defended it.
Members of the Trump administration have repeatedly said that immigrants should not cross the border illegally — an offense that is considered a federal misdemeanor — if they don’t wish to be split from their children. Many of the migrants crossing over into the U.S. have been refugees seeking asylum, but the president has repeatedly claimed several of these immigrants are MS-13 gang members or other criminals. Trump has slammed Democrats for wanting “open borders” and for not willing to compromise with Republican lawmakers on an immigration bill that includes funding for the proposed border wall, which the president has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for.
To top it off, members of Trump’s administration — like Nielsen and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — have been heckled or denied service at Washington-area restaurants because of their repeated defense of the “zero-tolerance” policy. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California drew rebukes from the president for urging her supporters at a rally to harass Trump officials because of their immigration stance. A national debate on “civility” has thus arisen due to the treatment of administration officials over the issue.
Before Trump issued his executive order to stop the separations, the American Civil Liberties Union had sued the administration. The Texas-based non-proift organization RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) — which provides low-cost legal services to refugees and other migrant families — has received millions of dollars in donations in recent weeks to help end the separations.
Outrage over the family separations only increased further when specific cases of separated families were revealed, and after audio recordings of children held at detention facilities with cages — some of the youngest kids have been held at “tender age” shelters — crying out for their parents.
Some of the parents and older children were also reportedly physically abused and tortured by ICE agents and other officials. Conservative media network Fox News drew heavy criticism for its reporting of the family separations, as some of its anchors played down the situation, using the good living conditions the children are kept in as a counter-argument to the backlash.
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