In three family-separation cases, the Department of Justice has agreed to give parents who didn’t pass their initial asylum interviews another chance to do so.
One of the lawsuits alleges that many parents who didn’t know their children’s whereabouts were so emotionally distraught that they were unable to effectively answer questions about whether they had a credible fear of persecution – the fundamental basis for any asylum claim. So by the time families were re-united, the parents had already lost their asylum claims and were subject to deportation – even if their children had independent viable claims. They then had to choose between staying separated from children whose own claims were still alive, and returning together to a place they’d already fled as dangerous.
Under this new agreement, parents will be able to stay with a child whose own asylum adjudication is still pending.
Vox’s Dara Lind explains that the agreement, if approved by the courts, “will officially send the legal fight over family separation into its endgame phase. While hundreds of parents and children remain separated, the legal fight over reunification is largely about who’s responsible for carrying out various parts of the government’s reunification plan; the new agreement would set a similar plan up for the legal due process of parents and children making claims to stay in the US.”