September 13, 2018

Settlement for Separated Asylum-Seeking Families Awaits Approval

Legal Aid says the trauma of separation prevented parents from explaining their need for asylum in one of three lawsuits.

A potential settlement has been reached in a trio of lawsuits involving immigrant families separated by the federal government. The deal would give a do-over to parents facing deportation after failing initial interviews for asylum. 

To apply for asylum, a person must first pass an interview gauging if their fear of going home is believable. In one of the cases, the Legal Aid Justice Center alleged that the trauma of family separation kept parents from explaining themselves to asylum officers. 

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, the group’s legal director of immigrant advocacy, says if the judge approves the settlement, "the parents will get the right to review. The kids will get the right to an interview. And if either kid or parent passes, then the whole family gets to stay while they fight out their asylum claim."

The settlement would apply to parents still detained or living in the U.S. Sandoval-Moshenberg says there may be as many as 1,000. The Justice Department declined to comment.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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