Migrant families may get a second chance at asylum

LOS ANGELES — Many migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border may have a second chance to claim asylum under a settlement agreement reached late Wednesday between the Trump administration and lawyers representing the parents.

The settlement, which is pending approval by a federal judge, would be a major win for many of the parents of more than 2,500 migrant children who were forcibly separated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and placed in separate detention facilities under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy between April and June.

ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt, who is representing many of the separated parents, said "the settlement will now finally give parents a meaningful opportunity to seek asylum with their children. As critically, it leaves open the possibility that some parents deported without their children can return to the United States."

RELATED: 'Tent city' for immigrant children separated from parents in Texas

12 PHOTOS
'Tent city' for immigrant children separated from parents in Texas
See Gallery
'Tent city' for immigrant children separated from parents in Texas
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Raymondville, UNITED STATES: A futuristic USD 65 million tent city designed to hold about 2,000 illegal immigrants is pictured 10 April 2006 in Raymondville, Texas. The newly-constructed barbed-wire enclosed camp in the Rio Grande Valley will hold illegal immigrants for weeks to years until they can be returned to their home countires by US officials. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. Picture taken June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The inside of a dormitory at the Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, walk in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents by the Department of Homeland Security next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

NBC News previously reported that parents felt pressured to drop their asylum cases and be deported in order to see their children again.

Many deported parents say they were misled into thinking that leaving their children in the U.S. was the only way they would be reunited.

Under the settlement, parents and their children will be able to redo their interview with asylum officers to prove credible fear, the first bar immigrants must clear in order to pursue asylum.

For parents already deported, the government is willing to reconsider reopening their cases, but will not bring all deported parents back to the U.S.

Immigrants will also be able to have their lawyers present during the interview.

"The psychological state of the parent at the time of the initial interview" will be considered if there are inconsistencies in the information provided between the first and second interview, according to the settlement.

The Justice Department declined to comment. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jacob Soboroff reported from Los Angeles. Julia Ainsley reported from Washington.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.