A United States judge on Monday ordered a temporary halt to deportations of immigrant families reunited after being separated at the border by authorities. US District Judge Dana Sabraw imposed a delay of at least a week following an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union, AP reported.
The union had said there were “persistent and increasing rumors that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification”, a claim that Justice Department attorney Scott Stewart did not address during the hearing.
The American Civil Liberties Union said that parents should have at least one week to decide whether to seek asylum in the United States after being reunited with their children. However, judge Sabraw decided to postpone the matter until the US government outlines its objections in writing by Monday.
“It’s hard to imagine a more profound or momentous decision,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt told reporters after the verdict.
The administration of President Donald Trump has a July 26 deadline to reunite over 2,500 children with their parents. After much criticism of this “zero tolerance” policy to immigration, Trump had signed an executive order halting the separations.
Judge Sabraw had last month set a deadline of July 10 for children under five years old to be reunited with their parents, and gave the federal government until July 26 to reunite 2,551 children between five and 17 with their parents.