Mi­grants may get 2nd shot at asy­lum

Fed­eral judge back deal for sep­a­rated fam­i­lies

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Ser­gio R. Bus­tos Con­tribut­ing: Daniel Gon­za­lez, Ari­zona Re­pub­lic; Alan Gomez, USA TO­DAY; As­so­ci­ated Press

Lawyers for the par­ents had ar­gued that they were not able to prop­erly present their cases be­cause they were sep­a­rated from their chil­dren at the time of their in­ter­views, a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence that made it dif­fi­cult to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion in their home coun­tries.

A fed­eral judge ap­pears ready to sign off on an agree­ment to al­low a sec­ond chance at ap­ply­ing for asy­lum to more than 1,000 un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grant fam­i­lies who were sep­a­rated un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “zero tol­er­ance” pol­icy.

At a hear­ing in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said Fri­day that the agree­ment be­tween the ad­min­is­tra­tion and lawyers rep­re­sent­ing im­mi­grant fam­i­lies was “an ex­cel­lent pro­posal” and asked the two sides to write up a draft or­der for his ap­proval.

The agree­ment – bro­kered be­tween the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and lawyers rep­re­sent­ing mi­grant fam­i­lies – will halt de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings to give an­other op­por­tu­nity to par­ents who failed the first stage of the asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion process, dur­ing which they had to demon­strate they have a “cred­i­ble fear” of re­turn­ing to their home coun­try.

Lawyers for the par­ents had ar­gued that they were not able to prop­erly present their cases be­cause they were sep­a­rated from their chil­dren at the time of their in­ter­views, a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence that made it dif­fi­cult to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion in their home coun­tries.

Un­der the agree­ment, fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials will be re­quired to con­sider the “psy­cho­log­i­cal state of the par­ent at the time of the ini­tial in­ter­view.”

The pro­posed deal also pro­vides a small win­dow for the roughly 400 par­ents who have al­ready been de­ported to re­turn to the U.S. to make new asy­lum claims. But those cases will be “rare and un­usual” and will re­quire case-by-case re­views by the fed­eral judge over­see­ing the case.

“The gov­ern­ment does not in­tend to, nor does it agree to, re­turn any re­moved par­ent to the United States or to fa­cil­i­tate any re­turn of such re­moved par­ents,” the agree­ment says.

Ear­lier this sum­mer, Sabraw or­dered the ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­unite all sep­a­rated fam­i­lies and con­tin­ues over­see­ing the re­uni­fi­ca­tion process.

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