Judge Orders Trump Administration to Stop Family Separations and Reunite Children with Their Parents

A federal district judge has told the Trump administration to reverse the worst abuses of its family separation policy. Judge Dana Sabraw’s order comes out of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed before Donald Trump’s executive order paused new family separations without doing anything to reunite parents and children already torn apart. Sabraw ordered that, going forward, “absent a determination that the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child,” parents and children may not be separated. 

Sabraw also ordered the government to reunite children under five with their parents within 14 days, reunite children of all ages within 30 days, and to allow all children to talk to their parents on the phone within 10 days. He further said the government cannot deport parents without their children. And he had some pretty harsh (but true) things to say along the way:

“The unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property,” the judge wrote.

The Trump administration will likely fight this decision, and as we saw on Tuesday, Trump has a Supreme Court that will bless his most racist actions. But in this case, the administration will literally have to argue explicitly that it should be allowed to separate toddlers from their parents for long periods of time, prevent parents and children from even talking on the phone, and deport parents without their children—not a good look even by Trump administration standards. For now, this judge’s order is a big win, though we’ll see if the administration complies and reunites families.


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