Immigration Law

US says it will appeal injunction barring separation of immigrant families

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The Department of Justice plans to appeal a federal judge’s injunction that bars separation of immigrant families.

The administration filed notice of appeal with the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The government intends to continue the reunification of families but there are issues about “the scope and application” of the injunction, according to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart, who spoke at a court hearing on Friday.

The hearing was before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, the judge who issued the injunction in June. Sabraw had barred separations that weren’t in a child’s best interests and set a timetable for family reunifications.

Since Sabraw ordered reunification, more than 1,900 children have been reunited with their parents, and another 200 have been placed with sponsors or have turned 18 years of age. Lawyers and nonprofits are currently trying to located deported parents of another 343 children.

A zero-tolerance policy adopted on May 7 which subjected immigrants entering the country illegally to criminal prosecution, and separated them from their children. On June 20, the policy was changed in an executive order that required keeping families together during criminal and immigration proceedings, to the extent allowed by law.

According to the Union-Tribune, the current legal consensus is that detained immigrant parents can decide whether they children can stay with them in immigration detention or whether their children should be placed in youth shelters until possible placement with sponsors.

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