Federal judge advances ACLU lawsuit challenging separation of parents, children at border

Federal judge advances ACLU lawsuit challenging separation of parents, children at border
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A federal judge on Wednesday refused the Trump administration's request to dismiss a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the practice of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border. 

U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego said in his ruling that the Trump administration's "wrenching separation" of families might violate the Constitution's guarantees of due process.

“Such conduct, if true, as it is assumed to be on the present motion, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Sabraw wrote. "The facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity.” 

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Sabraw rejected the federal government's argument that the practice of separating families cannot be challenged on constitutional grounds. He did, however, dismiss a separate challenge to the law that claimed the separation of families violates asylum laws. 

The ACLU filed its lawsuit in February after a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo was separated from her 7-year-old daughter while trying to seek asylum in the U.S. According to the ACLU's suit, the mother and child were detained separately at facilities 2,000 miles apart. 

Wednesday's ruling comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's immigration policies face heavy criticism, especially the practice of separating parents and children.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE ripped the policy as "disastrous" last week, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (D-Calif.) has said she plans to introduce a bill that would end the rule.

The ruling also comes following reports this week that U.S. Border Patrol agents are running out of space to detain migrant children that were separated from their parents. Roughly 550 children are currently detained, of which nearly 300 have spent more than 72 hours in custody.