Federal Judge Dana Sabraw’s ruling on Thursday came as a sigh of relief for the migrants, who were caught in turmoil of the zero tolerance policy. As per the ruling, the Trump administration has six months for identification and reunion of the children who have been separated from their families at the US-Mexico border.
The Trump administration imposed zero tolerance policy in 2018, in an attempt to use separations to deter migrants from unlawfully crossing the southern border. The children around the border were forced to live alone or were sometimes detained by the Human Health Service facilities (HHS) away from their parents. Even though the policy has been largely finished, the children are still separated from their parents.
The administration has refused to accept the deadline until October 25, saying the reuniting of around 47,000 children, whose parents were taken into custody from July 2017 to June 2018, might take time of up to two years.
Stressing on the deadline of six months, Sabraw said that the extension would solely depend upon the progress made by the administration in the case.
“It is important for all government actors to have a timeframe, a deadline. You tend to stand on it,” he added.
Whilst the Department of Justice claimed that three months time would be required just to create an analytical model to review the files of separated children. However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued, “entire review of every file can be done within three months.”
As the number of children separated under the zero tolerance policy remains unknown, the HHS officials have been trying to find some common characteristics that would help them in reuniting the children with their parents.
Lee Gelernt, ACLU’s deputy director of Immigrants’ Rights Project, welcomed Sabraw’s ruling, saying “This order shows that the court continues to recognize the gravity of this situation. We are talking about the lives of children, potentially thousands of them.”
While criticizing the Trump administration, Gelernt said, “The government was able to quickly gather resources to tear these children away from their families and now they need to gather the resources to fix the damage.”
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