Late Tuesday evening, a federal judge in California leveled the first major review against the Trump Adminstration over family separations at the border.
US District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered a stop to most family separations and the reunification of all families that have been separated.
The court order now requires federal officials to stop detaining parents apart from their minor children.
It also requires the reunification of all parents with their minor children who are under the age of 5 within 14 days, and the reunification of all parents with their minor children age 5 and older within 30 days.
The order also orders that federal officials officials must allow parents to contact their children by phone within 10 days, if the parent is not already in contact with his or her child.
Judge Sabraw wrote, "Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm, and that the balance of equities and the public interest weigh in their favor, thus warranting issuance of a preliminary injunction.”
However, federal officials are still allowed to prosecute illegal immigrants at the border.
Judge Sabraw wrote, ”This Order does not implicate the Government's discretionary authority to enforce immigration or other criminal laws, including its decisions to release or detain class members. Rather, the Order addresses only the circumstances under which the Government may separate class members from their children, as well as the reunification of class members who are returned to immigration custody upon completion of any criminal proceedings.”
The lawsuit was brought against the Trump Adminstration by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU filed the case on behalf of a Congolese woman seeking asylum in the US who was separated from her 7-year-old daughter.
The lawsuit was filed back in February.
In a speech before the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration for taking a hardline stand on illegal immigration and said the voters elected President Donald Trump to do just that.
"This is the Trump era," Sessions said. "We are enforcing our laws again. We know whose side we are on — so does this group — and we're on the side of police, and we're on the side of the public safety of the American people."
Judge Sabraw's order referred to the family separations at the border as “a crisis.”
“People are protesting. Elected officials are weighing in. Congress is threatening action. Seventeen states have now filed a complaint against the Federal Government challenging the family separation practice," Judge Sabraw wrote.