A Second Chance for Separated Families

The fight over the asylum rights of families who had been separated by the Trump administration took what could be a critical turn late last night. Following weeks of negotiation, parties in three lawsuits — including the ACLU’s class-action lawsuit, which first blocked the family separation policy and forced the government to reunite families — brokered an agreement that, if approved by the judge, will allow hundreds of parents to re-apply again for asylum in the U.S. after being turned down previously. 

Here’s what you need to know.  

What happens to parents who are in the U.S. with deportation orders?     

The cases of parents who are still in the United States and who have been ordered deported will be reviewed to determine whether they have a credible fear of persecution. They will be able to consult with lawyers and present new or additional information in their asylum cases.

The settlement agreement specifically instructs that if there are discrepancies between the parent’s first asylum interview and the second review, the government should consider the psychological state that the parent was in at the time of the parent’s interview. This is critical given that many parents were originally pushed through the asylum process after their children had been forcibly taken away from them, impairing their ability to fully answer questions. 

What happens to families with parents who did not pass their asylum interviews?

As a first step of the asylum process, asylum seekers have a "credible fear" screening. During the interview, an asylum officer determines whether they have a credible fear of persecution if they returned to their country of origin. Under the settlement agreement, parents who failed their credible fear screenings will still be able to stay in the U.S. if their child passes their own credible fear screening. The same is also true if a child were to not pass an asylum screening but the parent did. 

What happens to parents who have already been deported?

The government has maintained that parents who have already been deported are not eligible for asylum, but the settlement may create the possibility that some deported parents will be able to return to the U.S. 

What’s next?

Before going into effect, the settlement must be approved by the federal judge overseeing the three cases. 

While the Trump administration will never be able to erase the full damage of its family separation policy — and there are still parents who need to be located — this agreement would constitute an important step toward restoring and protecting the asylum rights of children and parents going forward. 

We will be back in court on Friday, Sept. 14. 

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Anonymous

The trump administration should be charged under international law under articles 6,7and 8 of the charter of International law to insure this never can happen again and @ICEgov should be Abolished
Or lose their discretionary and power to take it upon themselves to deport any one without a court order by a court first or a warrant for deportation
And have to provide proof of to justify their reasons

Anonymous

And, what are the courts doing about the 12,800 children in GOP jail at the border?

Regina Cornwell

Yes, without question. The administration’s cruel and inhuman policy must stop. So many, perhaps most, of the immigrants come here to escape the persecution, coupled with abject poverty and hopelessness in their own countries. They have come here to create better lives for their children and themselves. I refer to the greater majority: They will work very hard at jobs most Americans reject, will make certain that their children study and learn and they will strive to become good citizens. All should be given just and fair hearings by people with understanding and compassion. Parents and their children have been traumatized by policies which must be eliminated. With the just hearings, immigrants should be offered psychological and psychiatric help from doctors and other trained professionals in those fields so that adults and children will be able to move on with their lives so that the trauma and other illnesses they have been subjected to will not destroy them.

Sylvia

Thanks. It doesn't seem like enough, but better than nothing.

Anonymous

Can anyone estimate.....how much has this cost the American tax payer? With separation costs, boarding, transportation, dna testing, etc......

Anonymous

A lot more than it should. Less than 20% of the asylum requests of Central Americans are ultimately approved. It would be a lot cheaper to do a better job of weeding out the 80% whose applications won't be approved right from the get-go and turning them around right at the border.

Anonymous

What did the Judge say?

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