Federal judge orders the Trump administration to reunite all migrant families within 30 days

Children in a detention center.
(Image credit: CBP/Handout via REUTERS)

On Tuesday night, a federal judge in San Diego ordered the Trump administration to immediately cease separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border and reunite the families it has already separated within 30 days, or 14 days if the detained child is under 5. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, a George W. Bush appointee, allowed migrant parents to be separated from their children if the parent is found to be unfit or asks to be separated, but he also ordered the federal government to facilitate phone contact between parents and children within 10 days. President Trump signed an order last week to stop separating families, but Sabraw sided with the ACLU against the Trump Justice Department in issuing his nationwide injunction, saying Trump's executive order included "subjective" and narrow standards for child-parent separation.

Under Trump's "zero tolerance border policy," more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents, and just over 2,000 remain apart in detention centers or with foster families. "Measures were not in place to provide for communication between governmental agencies responsible for detaining parents and those responsible for housing children, or to provide for ready communication between separated parents and children," Sabraw wrote. "There was no reunification plan in place, and families have been separated for months." Juan Sanchez, the CEO of Southwest Key Programs, which runs the nation's largest shelters for migrant children, tells The Associated Press that reuniting children with their parents "could take days. ... Or it could take a month, two months, six, or even nine. I just don't know."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.