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Dem states sue to stop family separations

28 June 2018

During a multi-agency call with reporters, Lisa Desjardins with "PBS NewsHour" asked whether the government is still taking in children who were separated from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border even after President Donald Trump's executive order to stop family separation.

Sabraw ordered the government to reunite parents with their children younger than 5 years old within 14 days of the order, and children 5 years old and older within 30 days of the order. Initially, the ACLU had filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Congolese mother who had been forcibly separated from her then-6-year-old daughter after arriving in the U.S.to seek asylum from religious persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Responding to the judge's ruling, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt said: "Tears will be flowing in detention centres across the country when the families learn they will be reunited".

A federal judge in California has ordered USA border authorities to reunite children with their separated families and it wasn't immediately clear how the ruling would affect a similar lawsuit from 17 states. Children under 5 must be reunited with parents within 14 days. "The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency as property". "We hope the Trump administration will not think about appealing when the lives of these little children are at stake".

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In the 24-page order, Sabraw judged that children could only be separated at the border if adults with them were found to pose a danger to the children.

The ACLU lawsuit aims to block any attempt to revive the separation policy, and the court order also prevents the deportation of any parents who have not yet been reunited with their children.

In the wake of President Donald Trump's executive order created to stop the separation policy, doubt has swirled about whether the administration is allowed to detain families together with their minor children, which the executive order proposes as an alternative.

The lawsuit argues that the practice of family separations is "irrationally discriminatory" and violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection "because it targets only people crossing our southwestern border, the majority of whom are from Latin America, and not anyone crossing the northern border or entering the United States elsewhere", according to a news release from New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office.

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"The U.S. government never had any plan to reunite these families that were separated", Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia said Tuesday.

Under questioning, Azar refused to be pinned down on how long it will take to reunite families.

The ACLU said the order did nothing to address the harm already done to parents and children authorities split up, and that children did not belong in detention at all.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "We have made it extremely clear we want to keep families together, and we want to secure the border and enforce our laws", House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

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Late Tuesday, a federal judge in California issued a ruling on a separate but similar lawsuit. "Defendants must reunify all [parents] with their minor children age five and over within thirty days". Many parents are in custody thousands of miles from their children, whom they have not been able to see and have rarely spoken to for a month or more.

Dem states sue to stop family separations