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DOJ, ACLU Reach Settlement on Separated Migrant Families

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union that would give benefits to thousands of migrant families separated at the border under the previous administration’s policies, according to ABC News.

What’s going on: “Under the proposed agreement, the Justice Department says, new standards would be established to limit migrant family separations in the future. The settlement would prohibit separations unless there are concerns regarding the wellness of the migrant child, national security issues, medical emergencies or in the case of criminal warrants.”

  • The deal—on which a federal judge must still sign off—would also cover any medical costs incurred because of the separations.
  • If approved, it would stay in effect for six years. 

Why it’s important: “[U]nder the settlement, more than 3,900 children and their families would be eligible for temporary relief from future deportation for up to three years, with a chance to renew. Members of those families would also be granted work authorizations.”

  • More than 75% of the originally identified families that were separated have either been reunited or given the information they need to reunite, according to a Biden administration official.
  • “The agreement further expands the number of families that will be eligible for humanitarian parole and reunification, meaning that the ACLU and other organizations will be receiving information on separated families that was previously unknown,” according to ABC News.

Previous policy: A policy in place for four months in 2018 “mandated prosecutions for all suspected illegal border crossings, which led to parents being deported while their children stayed in U.S. custody or were placed in foster care.”

The last word: “The NAM has long called for policy that explicitly prohibits the separation of minor children from their parents, which is what we lay out in ‘A Way Forward,’ our immigration-policy document,” said NAM Director of Domestic Policy Julia Bogue.

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