Migrant separations: US judge orders family reunifications


Washington: A US judge has ordered that migrant children and their parents who were separated when they crossed into the US should be reunited within 30 days.
The judge issued the injunction in a case stemming from the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Meanwhile the policy of breaking up families at the Mexico border is being challenged by 17 US states.
Democratic attorneys general from states including Washington, New York and California launched the lawsuit.
More than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents since early May under the Trump administration’s controversial policy, which seeks to criminally prosecute anyone crossing the border illegally.
It urged officials to expedite cases involving families. “We don’t like to see families separated,” Mr Trump said.
The order was widely seen as the reversal of a policy that had drawn widespread domestic and international condemnation.
On Monday US border security chief Kevin McAleenan said he had halted criminal prosecutions of migrants who illegally enter the country with children, following Mr Trump’s announcement.
However critics have said the order is vague, and does not specify when and how those already split up would be brought back together.
The lawsuit by the 17 states argues that the order does not prevent the policy being used again in the future. Neither, they note, does it say anything about reuniting families that have been separated.
They call the policy “an affront” to the states’ interests in maintaining standards of care for children and preserving parent-child relationships.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal callled it “cruel, plain and simple” and accused the administration of “issuing new, contradictory policies” every day.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the administration was causing “causing unfathomable trauma” and that migrant children held in New York City had to be treated for depression and suicidal behaviour.


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