Federal judge orders government to stop deporting recently reunited immigrant families. Here’s why.

Federal judge orders government to stop deporting recently reunited immigrant families. Here’s why.
A federal judge has ordered the government to temporarily halt the deportation of reunited families. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A federal judge in San Diego has ordered the Trump administration to temporarily halt the deportation of recently reunited immigrant families for at least the next week.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s order comes as federal authorities work to reunite more than 2,500 children with their parents. The families were split as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy, which mandates the criminal prosecution of any person who enters the U.S. illegally.

Sabraw is the same federal judge who last month ordered the Trump administration to halt family separations and immediately begin reunification efforts.

What are the details?

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in federal court Monday asking Sabraw to temporarily halt deportations of reunited families for at least the next week, fearing “mass deportations,” according to Bloomberg.

The ACLU said the extra time will give families time to decide whether to head back south together or leave their children in the U.S. to seek asylum on their own. The ACLU said the parents need additional time because the government has complicated the asylum-process.

“Due to their unlawful separations, parents and children have had no chance to have meaningful conversations with one another about the family’s collective options,” the ACLU said.

“Had the families not been separated in the first place, they would have been together to discuss their options, and their cases would have remained on the same track,” the group said in its filing. “Parents cannot make such momentous decisions on behalf of their families without knowing what claims their children may have, or even that their children may have independent claims.”

Sabraw said he would consider lifting his order after U.S. attorneys file addition briefs on the matter. He gave the government one week to respond, Bloomberg reported.

According to the Huffington Post, the government opposed Monday’s order.

How many children still need to be reunited?

The government has said all immigrant children under age 5 have been reunited with their families. Now, the government is working to reunite those between 5-17. The Huffington Post reported there may be up to 2,551 remaining immigrant children held in detention centers. The government has until July 26 to complete the reunification process.