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ACLU on 'Big Victory' at the Border: 'Tears Will Be Flowing'

Federal judge's orders reunification of separated migrant families must happen within 30 days
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2018 6:03 AM CDT
Melvin, foreground, and Iris, both from Honduras, listen as they hear other immigrants tell of their separations from their children at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House in...   (AP Photo/Matt York)

(Newser) – The ACLU claimed a "big victory" Tuesday in its fight with the Trump administration to reunite families separated at the border. "These families thought they might never see each other again. Tonight's court ruling will change lives," the ACLU tweeted on a federal judge's preliminary injunction to order all children affected by a "zero tolerance" immigration policy back with their parents. Per the Los Angeles Times, kids younger than 5 must be reunited with parents within 14 days; older children must be reunited within 30 days. In a ruling brought about by a "chaotic circumstance of the government's own making," US District Judge Dana Sabraw noted "the unfortunate reality" of cars, money, and other personal items being tracked better than the more than 2,000 children who've so far been taken from their parents, per Politico. "Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process."

Under Sabraw's mandate, parents also can't be detained or deported without their kids, unless it's shown a parent is unfit or otherwise poses a danger, and prompt phone contact between parents and kids must be allowed, per NBC News. The injunction was a response to a class-action lawsuit on behalf of two women separated from their children, including a Congolese woman who made headlines. Sabraw's ruling comes on the heels of an executive order from President Trump that was supposed to remedy the separations, but which stayed "silent on the issue of reuniting families that have already been separated or will be separated in the future," wrote Sabraw, a George W. Bush appointee. "Tears will be flowing in detention centers across the country when the families learn they will be reunited," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a statement. (Read more border separations stories.)

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