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Federal judge temporarily halts expulsion of migrant teen

Federal judge temporarily halts expulsion of migrant teen
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A federal judge temporarily has blocked the government from expelling a teenaged Honduran boy under a public health policy the Trump administration enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the 16-year-old was slated for expulsion on Wednesday, nearly a week after entering the U.S. to be with his father, the Associated Press reported.

The teen fled to the U.S. due to death threats after he witnessed a gang kill someone from his neighborhood, the ACLU says.

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On Tuesday evening, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order to protect the teen from expulsion through the end of Wednesday while litigation is pending.

The teen's name was unidentified in court papers, according to the AP.

Due to President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE's increased immigration controls and emergency declarations over the coronavirus pandemic, federal policy prohibits entry from most asylum seekers at this time.

More than 90 percent of people apprehended at the southern border in April were expelled.

Border agents would typically take unaccompanied migrant children or youths to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be united with sponsors or family members.

In the case of the Honduran teen, ACLU reports he was sent to a detention center, then a hotel and was not offered a chance to request asylum. The group added that the teen is in good health and is not showing signs of COVID-19.

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"This is more extreme than any other border policy we've seen from the administration," Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney, told the AP.

The AP reports that since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its order restricting immigration on March 20, the process of referring children to HHS has been almost entirely unused.

A spokesman for HHS told the AP the department is only receiving around one child per day.

The Hill has reached out to ACLU for further comment on the teen's pending litigation.