US immigration agents can no longer separate illegal alien parents and children caught crossing the border from Mexico illegally and must work to reunite those families that had been split up in custody, a federal judge has ruled.
The US district court judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego on Tuesday granted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed over family separations.
Sabraw ordered US border authorities to reunite separated illegal alien families within 30 days, setting a deadline in a process that has so far yielded uncertainty about when children might again see their parents.
If children are younger than five, they must be reunified within 14 days.
It appears the judge’s order goes contrary to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, but as always, laws are open to interpretation, and in activist judge’s cases, outright ignoring them.
(3) TRANSFER AND ALLOCATION OF APPROPRIATIONS AND PERSONNEL.—The personnel of the Department of Justice employed in connection with the functions transferred by this section, and the assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and unexpended balance of appropriations, authorizations, allocations, and other funds employed, held, used, arising from, available to, or to be made available to, the Immigration and Naturalization Service in connection with the functions transferred by this section, subject to section 202 of the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950, shall be transferred to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement for allocation to the appropriate component of the Department of Health and Human Services. Unexpended funds transferred pursuant to this paragraph shall be used only for the purposes for which the funds were originally authorized and appropriated.
(g) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section— (1) the term “placement” means the placement of an unaccompanied alien child in either a detention facility or an alternative to such a facility; and (2) the term “unaccompanied alien child” means a child who—
(A) has no lawful immigration status in the United States;
(B) has not attained 18 years of age; and
(C) with respect to whom—
(i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or
(ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.
The move – which came after the supreme court’s ruling upholding the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries – could open up a legal battle with the justice department which did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the multistate lawsuit, Fox News reports.
Sabraw, an appointee of President George W Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or does not want to be with the child. His ruling requires the government provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days.
More than 2,300 illegal alien children were separated from their parents after the Trump administration began a zero-tolerance policy in early May, seeking to prosecute all adults who crossed the border illegally, including those travelling with children.
The ACLU had sued on behalf of a mother and her then six-year-old daughter, who were separated after arriving last November in the US to seek asylum and escape religious persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While they were reunited in March, the ACLU is pursuing class-action claims on behalf of other immigrants.
Before the preliminary injunction ruling, the government urged Sabraw not to rule that it stop separating and quickly reunite illegal alien families after they illegally cross the US-Mexico border, saying Trump’s executive order last week largely addressed those goals.
But the agenda driven leftist judge disagreed.
“The facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government’s own making,” Sabraw wrote. “They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our constitution.”
The ruling is a win for the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit in March involving a girl who was separated from her Congolese mother and a 14-year-old boy who was separated from his Brazilian mother.
“Tears will be flowing in detention centres across the country when the families learn they will be reunited,” said the ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
It is not clear how border authorities will meet the deadline. The health and human services secretary, Alex Azar, told Congress on Tuesday that his department still had custody of 2,047 illegal alien children separated from their parents at the border. That is only six fewer children than the number in HHS custody from last Wednesday. Democratic senators said that was not nearly enough progress.
Azar refused to say how long it would take to reunite illegal alien families adding that his department undertook extensive vetting of parents to make sure they were not child traffickers.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 27th, 2018