Immigration Law

US uses loophole to split up immigrant families after judge's order to halt separations, ACLU says

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The U.S. government has taken more than 900 immigrant children from their families since a federal judge ordered a halt to family separations more than a year ago, according to a court filing by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is asking U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw to clarify when family separations are allowed, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. A press release is here.

The government says it splits families only when a parent poses a risk to a child because of a criminal record, a communicable disease, abuse or neglect.

But ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt told the Washington Post that the government is using that narrow exception “as a loophole to continue family separation.”

The ACLU says the government is citing the danger rationale to separate children from a parent based on minor offenses, including traffic violations, and for alleged neglect that included failure to change a diaper.

“The government is systematically separating large numbers of families based on minor criminal history, highly dubious allegations of unfitness, and errors in identifying bona fide parent-child relationships,” the ACLU motion, filed Tuesday, says.

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