Judge orders Trump administration to keep processing immigration applications for 2,714 Central American children whose parents are already legally in the US

Saturday, March 2, 2019
By Paul Martin

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler revealed the legal order on Friday
It applies to the 2,714 children already conditionally cleared to travel to the US
They were cleared before the Trump administration rescinded approvals in 2017
The Central American Minors program was started in 2014
It allowed parents legally in the US to apply to bring over their children from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador
The Department of Homeland Security was ordered to keep processing the approvals ‘in good faith’
The judge did not order the administration to resume the program, however

2 March 2019

A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to continue processing applications for roughly 2,700 immigrants from Central America who were set to travel to the US under an Obama-era program.

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, in San Francisco, threw out the administration’s decision to rescind conditional travel approval for the immigrants under the Central American Minors program, which had allowed parents legally in the US to apply to bring children or other family members living in Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador to the country.

The Trump administration announced in August 2017 that it was ending the program, which had been created in 2014 as a way to discourage children from attempting the dangerous trip from the ‘North Triangle’ countries to the US to reunite with their parents.

In her decision on Friday, Beeler said that the government had not provided a reason for why it should not continue to process the existing applications. The government had only argued that it would be a burden on the Department of Homeland Security to do so, according to Bloomberg.

Beeler found that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the children who had been left in their home countries without their parents faced dangers including beatings, rape and murder.

Beeler ordered the Department of Homeland Security not to try to malinger on processing the applications.

She warned the agency not to adopt ‘any policy, procedure, or practice of not processing the beneficiaries or placing their processing on hold en masse,’ and ordered it to ‘process the beneficiaries in good faith,’ according to Courthouse News.

During a February 14 hearing, a lawyer for the Trump administration had told Beeler that even if the children’s conditional approval was restored, Homeland might still refuse to process them in ‘good faith,’ opting to put them in an indefinite hold instead.

Despite ordering the continued processing of the applications, Beeler declined to order the administration to resume the Central American Minors program.

The judge ordered that Homeland need to submit ‘its plan for processing these 2,714 beneficiaries with benchmarks for assessing compliance’ by March 21.

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