Refugees gather early in the morning to consult a member of the Mexican Institute of Migration about their place in asylum line. Photo by Chris Stone

A federal judge in San Diego Thursday ordered the Trump administration to immediately move forward with asylum determinations for migrant families separated at the border despite objections from the government that a proposed settlement agreement hasn’t been finalized.

Under the proposed settlement agreement — which U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw gave unofficial preliminary approval to last month — reunited migrant families would get a second chance at applying for asylum.

Attorneys for the migrant families had argued that when the families were separated at the border, most children were not interviewed to determine if they had credible fear of returning to their native country. Their parents were granted interviews, but were so distraught after being separated that they didn’t clearly advocate for themselves, attorneys said.

Under the settlement, reunited migrant families still in the U.S. will be allowed to remain until all family members have completed the asylum process.

The judge’s order comes while federal officials consider renewing a policy of separating children from parents at the border.

When Sabraw unofficially approved the settlement, both sides agreed that the asylum determination process should get under way as soon as possible.

Sabraw granted preliminary approval of the settlement last week, paving the way for credible fear interviews to proceed within days of a migrant confirming his or her wishes to go forward with an asylum claim.

Another status conference on the class-action lawsuit is scheduled Nov. 9.

— City News Service

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