Los Angeles, US, Jan 29 (efe-epa).- United States officials may resume the expulsion of unaccompanied migrant children entering the country through the southern border without processing them under the usual protocols, a panel of judges in Washington DC ruled Friday.
DC Circuit Court Judges Gregory Katsas, Neomi Rao and Justin Walker – all appointees of former president Donald Trump – halted a November lower court order by Judge Emmet Sullivan, who had ruled that the government didn’t have the authority to expel unaccompanied minors, who needed protection and were subject to removal under a public health order.
In March 2020, then-vice president Mike Pence ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use its emergency powers to effectively seal the US borders over Covid-19, which mostly affected asylum seekers and migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.
In his November order, Judge Sullivan said unaccompanied migrant children detained by border agents must receive the safeguards Congress established for them and be taken to government-supervised shelters during their immigration proceedings.
The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other organizations on behalf of a 15-year-old Guatemalan who entered the country alone last August.
The ACLU’s lead attorney in this case, Lee Gelernt, told reporters Friday that they will continue to litigate the case on behalf of these vulnerable unaccompanied children who are legally entitled to apply for asylum, but hopes that President Joe Biden’s administration “will not make ongoing litigation necessary by rescinding this illegal policy created by the Trump administration.”
According to CBP data, in September more than 48,000 migrants were expelled from the US under the regulations in question at the southern border, and an October report by the New York Times said that more than 200 non-Mexican children were expelled by CBP to Mexico.
Announcements on immigration from the new Biden administration were expected Friday, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that this will now come next week. EFE-EPA