US immigration agents can no longer separate immigrant parents and children caught crossing the border from Mexico illegally and must work to reunite those families that had been split up in custody, a federal judge has ruled.
The US district court judge Dana Sabraw on Tuesday granted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed over family separations.
Sabraw ordered US border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days, setting a deadline in a process that has so far yielded uncertainty about when children might again see their parents.
If children are younger than five, they must be reunified within 14 days.
Sabraw, an appointee of President George W Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or does not want to be with the child. His ruling requires the government provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days.
More than 2,300 migrant children were separated from their parents after the Trump administration began a zero-tolerance policy in early May, seeking to prosecute all adults who crossed the border illegally, including those travelling with children.
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