HOUSTON (AP) – A federal judge extended an order on Wednesday to prevent the Trump administration from deporting a 16-year-old boy from Honduras under her emergency declaration, citing the corona virus.
US District Judge Carl Nicholas in Washington did not immediately rule the first challenge to a policy that led to the rapid removal of hundreds of migrant children. Instead, he told lawyers from the government and the American Civil Liberties Union that he wanted to learn more about the case and make a final decision about the teen’s fate in the near future. The judge did not set a time limit for his stay, which was originally due to end on Wednesday.
The ACLU and other legal groups indicted on behalf of the teenager, who was not identified in court documents, but said to have crossed the US-Mexico border, fleeing prosecution. The teen has no coronavirus or symptoms of infection, the ACLU said.
According to a March statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, border agents quickly put children and teens on deportation flights instead of handing them over to federal agencies for sponsorship placement, as normally required by federal law. President Donald Trump’s government argues that the coronavirus pandemic requires most asylum seekers not to enter the country because they can infect Americans, even though the U.S. has by far the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any country.
It is believed that more than 1,000 minors have been evicted since March. Border agents deported 700 youths in April, but Matthew Dyman, the spokesman for US customs and border protection, declined to say how many were deported in May.
According to the government, officers arrested the teenager near El Paso, Texas after crossing the border illegally. They determined that he was eligible for removal under the command and took him to a hotel pending the next flight to Honduras. The ACLU sued the day before the scheduled flight.
Many of the expelled children are teens from Central America who have only crossed the border to join family members in the US, but in at least one case, a 10-year-old boy was sent to Honduras after his mother gave him only the border from the refugee camp where they lived in Matamoros, Mexico. That refugee camp is the result of another Trump program targeting asylum seekers, known as “ Remain in Mexico, ” in which tens of thousands of people were sent across the border to await judicial data.
The administration issued a draft rule this month that would impose new restrictions on asylum and make it significantly more difficult to win a claim.
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