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US Border | Credits: Reuters
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Federal judge to ban family separation at US Border for 8 years

Washington, United States: A federal judge was poised on Friday to prohibit family separation at the border for the purpose of deterring immigration for the next eight years, preventing the resumption of a lightning-rod Trump-era policy that the former president hasn’t ruled out if voters return him to the White House next year.

In October, US District Judge Dana Sabraw accepted a proposed court settlement between the Justice Department and families represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. According to the ACLU, no one formally protested, paving the path for the lawsuit to be settled nearly seven years after it was launched.

US District Judge Dana | Credits: WSJ

Sabraw, who was nominated by President George W Bush, declared an end to separations in June 2018, six days after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally suspended them after international outrage. The judge also ordered the government to reconnect children with their parents within 30 days, causing a frenzied dash because government databases were not linked. Children have been sent around the country to shelters that had no idea who their parents were or how to find them.

“Zero-tolerance” policy

As per the proposed settlement, the Trump administration took apart more than 5,000 children from parents under the type of “zero-tolerance” policy; the parents who were arrested for illegally coming to the country would be prohibited until December 2031.

Separated families might be eligible for many additional benefits, which include humanitarian parole; the legal status will be provided for up to three years, reunion in the US at government expense, one year of housing, three years of therapy, and legal help in immigration court. 

But this deal doesn’t provide any compensation to the families. The Biden Administration discussed rewarding parents and children with hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece in 2021, but the discussions fell through, according to the report by the Associated Press.

| Migrants at the US border |

As he seeks re-election to the White House in 2020, Trump has been evasive about restarting family separations. He explained the findings in an interview with Univision last month, claiming that it “stopped people from coming by the hundreds of thousands.”

Children may still be separated but under certain conditions, as has been the case for many years. They include checking if the child is suspected of being abused, if the adult’s parentage is in dispute, or if the parent has been convicted of significant crimes.

“When you hear that you’re going to be separated from your family, you don’t come. When you think you’re going to come into the United States with your family, you come,” Trump said.

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