Judge Says Coronavirus Can’t Be Used As Reason To Quickly Deport Unaccompanied Minors

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Immigrants seeking asylum are seen last year at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to stop expelling immigrant children who cross the southern border alone as an anti-coronavirus measure.

Eric Gay/AP

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Eric Gay/AP

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting minor immigrants on the grounds that they are a coronavirus threat. The government has already expelled nearly 9,000 children who crossed the border alone, seeking protection, citing a public health order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since March, immigration agents have been ejecting nearly everyone — children and adults — who shows up at the U.S. border asking for asylum. The government had insisted that it had to turn youngsters back to prevent the possible infection of border agents, youth shelter workers and other immigrants in custody.

But federal Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a preliminary injunction in Washington, telling immigration agents to stop the rapid expulsions of unaccompanied children. U.S. Customs and Border Protection had been housing the children temporarily in border hotels before they could be deported, but another …

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