Federal Judge to Trump Administration, ACLU: Come Up With Asylum Plan For Immigrant Families

A federal judge told government officials and the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday to come up with an asylum plan for families crossing the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Judge Dana Sabraw made the request a day after extending a freeze on the deportations of recently reunified families. The move granted a temporary reprieve to the hundreds of children and their parents who wish to remain the in the country. But now officials and members of the ACLU need to come up with a plan to address the rights of these immigrants who are seeking asylum, the judge says.

Sabraw wrote in the order that the "hasty removal of these children and their parents at the expense of an ordered process provided by law" goes against the public's interest, according to the Associated Press. It also deprives the immigrant children of their right to seek asylum, Sabraw added.

Sabraw has been the lead federal judge in the legal controversies surrounding President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. The policy charges those who cross the southern border illegally with criminal instead of civil charges. As a result, thousands of children were forcibly separated from their parents and guardians at the border and sent to detention centers and foster care shelters across the country.

Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to reunify all separated families by July 26, but over 550 children remain separated from their parents as of last week.

Honduran man seeks asylum with child
A Honduran father seeking asylum and his 2-year-old son are called by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers for entry after waiting on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge near Brownsville, Texas, on July 2. A federal judge has ordered government officials and the ACLU to work on an asylum plan for immigrants. Loren Elliott/Reuters

The Trump administration has already deported nearly 400 parents who were separated from their children. But ACLU attorneys argue that these deported parents should be able to come back to the United States and accompany their child through the rest of the asylum process.

In a tweet earlier this week, the organization said that these young "children should not be left to navigate the US asylum system alone" as a result of unlawful deportation of their parents.

Children should not be left to navigate the US asylum system alone, bearing the weight of continued separation, because the government unlawfully deported their parents and doesn't want to bring them back.

— ACLU (@ACLU) August 16, 2018

The decision by Judge Sabraw comes just a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an order to speed up the process of deportations. Sessions told immigration judges they should only be postponing deportation cases if there is "good cause shown," according to a Reuters report. Good cause can be shown by demonstrating how likely it is for the immigrant to succeed in efforts to remain in America by applying for asylum or getting a work permit or visa.