Aug. 18 (UPI) — A federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order Friday to keep the government from deporting migrant families who had been separated under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California said the order would allow children in the families to seek asylum in the United States. The order prevents parents from being forced to choose between deportation without their children or taking children with them before they go through asylum proceedings.
The administration removed about 2,500 children from their parents or guardians who it says entered the country illegally from April until June 20, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting separations.
Friday’s restraining order means the families will remain in detention centers while the involved parties discuss ways to keep families together during asylum proceedings.
After Trump’s order, the federal government reunited about 2,000 children with their parents, some of whom they released into the interior and others who have been kept in detention. Some children weren’t reunited because either the parents had already been deported or the government deemed it a safety risk after background checks on the adults.
“In the end, it may be that many of these children will be denied the relief they seek, but the public has an interest in ensuring these children receive the process that Congress has provided,” Sabraw wrote. “The hasty removal of these children and their parents at the expense of an ordered process provided by law would be antithetical to the public interests set out above, which plainly weigh in favor of granting the requested relief.”
Sabraw issued another temporary halt to deportations in July in a separate case on the reunification of the families. The plaintiffs in that case, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said the parents needed more time to review their options.