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After more than a year of an informal and formal family separation policy — marked by the separation of almost 3,000 children from parents with no system to eventually reunite them, the prosecution and detention of parents for misdemeanors, and the deportation of several hundred parents with no plan for reunification — the Trump administration has finally conceded that many were effectively denied the legal right to apply for asylum.
If the settlement agreement filed last night is approved by the court overseeing this matter, children in the U.S. along with their separated parents who have not been deported will be provided a new opportunity to apply for asylum, including many parents who were tricked by immigration officials into signing away asylum claims based on the false promises by ICE agents that doing so would lead to being reunited with their children.
For deported parents, they will have an opportunity to apply to return, though it will not be easy. In addition, parents with “red flags” — many for vague reasons that do not comport with basic child welfare principles — face a long road ahead since they were explicitly left out of the agreement.
Dara Lind of Vox News provides a succinct summary of the proposed agreement:
Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice, said: “Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for some of the families that were severely harmed by the Trump administration’s cruel family separation policy. Although there is no way to turn back the clock on the trauma these families have already experienced, many will finally have the opportunity to apply for asylum, as they were legally entitled to do upon arrival. But for other separated families whose parents have already been deported, it will be an uphill battle. And for those that the government continues to call ‘red flags’ — many without regard to basic child welfare principles and process — they continue to face the same rough road against an administration that puts politics above the best interests of children.”