Federal prosecutor: two immigrant children in Connecticut to be reunited with parents
Two immigrant children currently detained in Connecticut are being reunited with their parents after they were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle McConaghy filed court documents stating a nine-year-old Honduran boy identified as J.S.R. and a 14-year-old Salvadoran girl referred to as V.F.B. will be reunited with their parents. The court filings note the parents will be granted parole from federal custody.
“At this stage, Plaintiffs’ parents can only be released from detention through a solely discretionary grant of parole under narrowly prescribed circumstances, such as a present ‘urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit’,” the filings said. “Having considered all the factors presented in this case, (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will be granting Plaintiffs’ parents’ request for parole from custody under the terms and conditions set forth by ICE at the time of parole.”
The family reunifications come just a few days after U.S. District Court Judge Victor A. Bolden ruled that the separations were unconstitutional. Bolden’s July 13 decision came two days after the initial hearing on the case.
More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents by immigration officials at the border this spring. The Trump administration later reversed its “zero tolerance” immigration policy amid widespread backlash.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reunite detained children ages 5 and older with their families by July 26.
Attorneys at Connecticut Legal Services and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School filed the pair of federal lawsuits on behalf of the children on July 2.
Connecticut Legal Services Deputy Director Josh Perry said while the proceedings at an upcoming status conference on Wednesday will depend on what happens until then, it will largely address any outstanding issues.
“The children and their parents have been promised to be reunited today,” Perry said. “We will work with the government and the families on the conditions of their release and the circumstances of where they are going to be reunited.”
Both children were placed in the custody of Noank Community Support Services, Inc., a non-profit agency based in Groton that contracts with HHS to house immigrant children in the custody of the federal government.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at a Monday press conference the focus should be on reuniting the families as quickly as possible and giving them the care and counseling they need to overcome the harm done to them.
“This reuniting of these children with their parents is the direct result of court orders which were the main reason why the Department of Justice respected basic humanity and human rights,” Blumenthal said.
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