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Judge Hits Pause on Deportations of Reunited Families

Final decision expected next week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2018 2:40 PM CDT
In this July 14, 2018, file photo, Jelsin Aguilar Padilla shakes immigration attorney Jorge L. Baron's hand after stepping off his flight from New York into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as...   (Rebekah Welch/The Seattle Times via AP, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge on Monday ordered a temporary halt to any deportations of immigrant families who were reunited after being separated by the Trump administration at the border, the AP reports. US District Judge Dana Sabraw imposed a delay of at least a week after a request from the American Civil Liberties Union, which cited "persistent and increasing rumors ... that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification." In asking for a delay in deportations, the ACLU said parents need a week after being reunified with their children to decide whether to pursue asylum. As NBC News explains, families must decide whether to keep their children with them and be deported together or whether to leave their children in the US in the hope that they will win their asylum case.

The decision "cannot be made until parents not only have had time to fully discuss the ramifications with their children, but also to hear from the child's advocate or counsel, who can explain to the parent the likelihood of the child ultimately prevailing in his or her own asylum case if left behind in the US (as well as where the child is likely to end up living)," the ACLU said. The issue was addressed during a status hearing in the continuing family separations case the ACLU filed, CNN reports; as part of that case, Sabraw previously ordered the government to reunite all children under age 5 with their families by last week, and the rest of the children by July 26. Justice Department attorney Scott Stewart opposed the deportation delay but did not address the rumors in court. He said he would respond later in writing. The judge gave the department until next Monday, at which point he is expected to make a final decision on how quickly reunited families can be deported, per NBC. (Read more border separations stories.)

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