A federal judge in San Diego has barred immigration enforcement agents from separating migrant children from their parents upon illegal entry into the United States. The judge has also ordered that those detained under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy be reunited with their families within 30 days and children under the age of five must be returned to their parents within 14 days. Additionally, the ruling stipulates that parents have the right to communicate with their child within 10 days.
The ruling applies to all children currently ensnared in the controversial policy, unless their parent has been deemed unfit or unwilling to reunite.
NPR reports that the Tuesday ruling is the result of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed against President Trump on behalf of a seven-year-old girl who was separated from her mother; they were seeking asylum after escaping violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property,” Judge Dana M. Sabraw said in the ruling.
“The facts set forth before the Court portray reactive governance responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the Government’s own making,” Sabraw said in a pointed ruling clearly aimed at the Trump administration’s handling of the situation on the southern border, where more than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks.
The case was argued by Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who called the ruling “an enormous victory for parents and children who thought they may never see each other again.”
CNBC reports that the Trump administration tried to convince Judge Sabraw not to require an end to family separation and a timetable for family reunification in the ruling, arguing that Trump’s executive order already covered most of the nitty gritty. Sabraw apparently didn’t give a fuck.