US to settle class-action suit on family separation

The US government announced Oct. 16 that it will settle a 2018 class-action lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration's family separation practice at the US-Mexico border. The proposed settlement would create a process to reunify families who were separated. Additionally, the government is to provide health services and housing support for affected families, and arrange legal services through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, "This agreement will facilitate the reunification of separated families and provide them with critical services to aid in their recovery."

As another provision of the deal, the federal government would be barred from immigration policies that separate parents from children for eight years. The settlement does not provide any monetary relief for affected people. The parties filed a joint petition asking the US district court in Southern California to approve the settlement.

The case, Ms. L vs ICE, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of an asylum-seeking mother and her seven-year-old daughter who were fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo—only to be forcibly torn from each other in the US and detained separately 2,000 miles apart. (Jurist, AP, ACLU)

Despite the overturn of the Trump-era family separation policy, thousands of minors remain detained by US immigration authorities.