Federal judge orders reunification and puts an end to family separations at the border

The detention of children and families seeking asylum sparks debate even after Pres. Trump signed an executive order stopping the separation of families.

border crossers thegrio.com
A Honduran child and her mother, fleeing poverty and violence in their home country, waits along the border bridge after being denied entry from Mexico into the U.S. on June 25, 2018 in Brownsville, Texas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


A federal judge has ordered families separated at border to be reunited within 30 days.

Tuesday, a California judge ordered a halt to most family separations at the American border and the reunification of all families within one month.

In response to bipartisan backlash last week Trump issued an executive order to stop the separation of families and said parents and children will instead be detained together. But so far, relatively few families have been reunited, and the Trump administration has disclosed little information on how the process will be carried out or how long it will take.

This hard deadline is the first clear sign of progress the public has seen in what has been widely criticized as a disorganized and inhumane enforcement of Trump’s “zero tolerance policy.”

Further adding to the sense of urgency, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego also stated that officials must allow parents to contact their children by phone within 10 days, and if children are younger than five, they must be reunified with their families within 14 days instead of 30.

Sabraw, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child.

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“Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm, and that the balance of equities and the public interest weigh in their favor, thus warranting issuance of a preliminary injunction,” she wrote.

While the judge’s order does infuse some common sense and humanity into this situation, it doesn’t mean the Trump administration has to stop prosecuting people who cross the border illegally.

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“This Order does not implicate the Government’s discretionary authority to enforce immigration or other criminal laws, including its decisions to release or detain class members. Rather, the Order addresses only the circumstances under which the Government may separate class members from their children, as well as the reunification of class members who are returned to immigration custody upon completion of any criminal proceedings,” the judge explained.