Federal judge orders Trump administration to move forward on dozens of asylum claims

MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 12: Central American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas. The families were then sent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center for possible separation. U.S. border authorities are executing the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants' country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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The federal judge who ordered the reunification of migrant kids and parents separated at the southern border is now ordering the administration to move forward on dozens of pending asylum claims from some of these families. “In an Oct. 10 emergency motion to force the government to comply with the settlement,” CBS News reports, “civil rights attorneys said the delay had already led to the deportation of dozens of families who had been detained.”

In a major victory for families late last month, the administration had agreed to give as many as 1,000 parents affected by the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy a second chance at asylum. Some deported parents could even win a chance to return to the U.S. However, “the government has since argued that it did not have to begin processing the asylum claims until the deal is formally approved at a federal court hearing scheduled for Nov. 15.”

The delay was having dire results. “Over 40 detained families decided to accept removal—instead of receive due process—because they simply could not wait in detention any longer,” attorneys told Judge Dana Sabraw. “In the order Thursday,” the San Diego Union-Tribute reported, “Sabraw said the process should move forward as agreed upon, starting with the 60 or so people in immigration detention who have already signed forms and are ready to proceed with orientations and interviews.” 

Stalling on these possible protections is par for the course for this administration, which has stomped on the asylum process under the watch of Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, earning the rebuke of numerous immigration judges, active and retired. While Judge Sabraw has so far, inexplicably, refused to hold officials like Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen in contempt for continuing to violate his family reunification order, this urgent order could result in life-saving protections for families.

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