Two immigrants who were reunited with their children in Connecticut after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border have been granted six months of parole, the youths’ attorneys said on Wednesday.
The father of a nine-year-old Honduran boy identified as J.S.R., and the mother of a 14-year-old Salvadoran girl referred to as V.F.B., attended a court hearing regarding their respective children at U.S. District Court in Bridgeport for the first time on Wednesday morning.
U.S. District Court Judge Victor A. Bolden granted the children’s attorneys more time to seek direction from the families after the hearing, but noted that attorneys for the government may say they have gone above and beyond to address the issues raised in the case.
“We are grateful that the court in general has taken our clients and their parents’ harm very seriously and is giving them that time to figure out what they want,” Yale Law School student intern Hannah Schoen said at a press conference following the hearing.
J.S.R.’s father, dressed in jeans and a blue polo shirt, and V.F.B.’s mother, who wore a turquoise blouse and a skirt, both listened to the brief hearing through headphones for an interpreter’s translation.
Attorneys representing the two children 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. The families were reunited in Connecticut on Monday after a quick, two-week court battle.
The lawyers asked Bolden for more time to consult the families on how they wish to proceed with the case, and to leave a scheduled July 27 court hearing on the calendar in the meantime.
Yale Law School professor Muneer Ahmad said the attorneys didn’t have time to consult the families since they were reunited on Monday afternoon and were making up “for lost or stolen time.”
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle McConaghy said the case is now moot because the government reunited the families and released them from detention. That occurred even before a San Diego federal judge’s July 26 deadline to reunite children ages 5 and older with their families, McConaghy added.
“I don’t see why this case has to remain at this point,” McConaghy said. McConaghy said the parents’ six months of parole comes with the requirement they report where they will move to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
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.