Late Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction calling for all children affected by the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 days. The ruling came the same day Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) called on the U.S. government to end all deportations of separated families until they could be reunited—also granted in the ruling—and receive legal aid.
According to the L.A. Times, Sabraw wrote, “The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process.”
Social and Economic Justice Director for TCRP, Efrén Olivarez, said Tuesday in a Facebook Live broadcast of an identification mechanism supposedly put into place by the Department of Homeland Security in order to keep track of separated families, “the problem is that this information should have been in place before the separations began. Not after 2,400 – 2,500 children had been separated from their parents. That goes to show that when the government started taking children from their parent’s arms they had no plan to reunite them. And to some extent there’s still no plan to reunite the 2400 children that were separated.”
The ruling specifically calls for children younger than five years to be reunited with their parents within 14 days, and allow parents to call their children within 10 days if they’re not already in contact with them.
“This is a great victory for the whole movement, we achieved this together. Now we got to make sure that DOJ does not appeal the injunction because then that would mean that the DOJ is fighting to keep families separated,” said Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Coordinator for TCRP.
So far, the Department of Justice has called on Congress to fix the immigration system by “simultaneously” enforcing the law and keeping families together. It remains unclear as to whether they will appeal the decision, which, if done, would come at a time when the Supreme Court recently ruled in agreement with the administration’s Muslim Ban, anti-abortion pregnancy centers in California, and in favor of gerrymandering in Texas.
On Tuesday, TCRP was able to confirm to the media that one of their clients, whose intake was provided in late May at McAllen Federal Court, was deported July 6 without his son who is somewhere in the U.S.
“The injunction did not provide any clarity on parents who have already been deported without their children, including one of our clients. We are demanding that the government provide more information about how they plan to reunify family members of those deported and whose children are in the U.S.”
Nonetheless, TCRP maintains a victory for the movement for immigration and human rights.
“That is an amazing step forward, what we need to do now is make sure they all have attorneys who can help with their cases.”