Judge approves settlement banning immigrant family separations at border for 8 years
“There remains enormous work ahead to implement this settlement,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the merican Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, “including reuniting the hundreds of children who are still separated from their loved ones after all these years.” Image from Shutterstock.
The type of zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to family separations can’t be reinstated by the federal government for the next eight years under a settlement approved Friday by a judge in California.
Ruling in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of approved a deal first reached in October, according to a Dec. 8 press release from the ACLU.
Other terms of the settlement provide that the government will continue to identify families that were separated, fund their reunification in the United States, and provide a path for them to seek asylum. The settlement also provides for three-year work permits, housing support, immigration legal services and medical assistance.
Sabraw had issued an injunction in 2018 that barred separations and required reunification.
The families were separated after then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutions of all people entering illegally at the border. Children were sent to facilities thousands of miles away and weren’t told when or whether they would see their families again, the ACLU has said.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and lead attorney in the suit, called the settlement “a critical step toward closing one of the darkest chapters of the Trump administration.”
“But there remains enormous work ahead to implement this settlement,” Gerlent said in the press release, “including reuniting the hundreds of children who are still separated from their loved ones after all these years.”
The case is Ms. L. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.