California Federal Judge: Trump Administration Cannot Immediately Deport Hundreds of Reunited Families

On August 16th, 2018, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California blocked the Trump Administration from putting hundreds of migrant parents and children on the fast-track for deportation. Notably, these migrants were recently reunited after being torn apart by the Administration’s immoral family separation policy.

In the case of M.M.M v. Jeff Sessions, California federal Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that the government cannot force migrant parents to make the truly horrific choice of waiving their child’s right to apply for asylum in the United States or accepting their own deportation and leaving the country without their child.

The Administration Tried to Force Families to Waive their Child’s Asylum Rights

After first separating families as part of a disastrous, inhumane so-called ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the Trump Administration set up a difficult and awful choice for families following their reunification. Parents were given two options:

  1. They could waive their child’s legal right to apply for asylum in the United States, thereby being deported together as a whole family unit; or
  2. They could leave their child in the United States and allow their child to apply for asylum, but they would be immediately deported on their own.

In other words, parents had to give up their child’s rights to file an application within the U.S. immigration system or they would be re-separated. Several hundred families were impacted by this policy. According to information contained in the court documents in this case, more than 1,000 parents who were subject to family separation have already received their final deportation orders.

The Ruling: A Temporary Restraining Order Blocks the Government from Deporting Parents

Judge Sabraw has provided a temporary relief to hundreds of migrant families. His ruling imposes a temporary restraining order on the United States government, preventing immigration enforcement officials from deporting affected parents.

Still, it is important to note that this is only a temporary reprieve: the decision does not undo deportation orders. For the most part, parents are still scheduled to eventually be deported from the United States. Instead, it requires the Administration to ensure that children’s rights are protected. Congress has set up a policy that allows these children to submit a good faith, well reviewed application for asylum.

In essence, the Administration is legally prevented from pressuring parents into waiving their child’s right to apply for asylum by holding the immediate possibility of re-separation over their heads. The ruling covers some children whose parents had already waived their rights. Hundreds of parents already signed asylum waivers on behalf of their children. As Judge Sabraw stated, those parents were not adequately informed of their rights by government officials, therefore the waivers that were signed are legally invalid. These children still have a right to seek asylum.

We Support Immigrant Rights

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to fighting for immigrant rights. To get immediate assistance with your case, please call us today. From our office in Los Angeles, we serve communities throughout Southern California, including Anaheim, Long Beach, Torrance, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Santa Ana.