A federal judge today ordered border authorities to stop expelling migrant children without allowing them to seek asylum, a practice that the Trump administration has justified as a necessary public health measure in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In response, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley said the following: 

“Our federal laws are clear: unaccompanied immigrant children are entitled to enter our country, be placed in child-appropriate settings before being reunited with family, and seek humanitarian protection. Today’s order by a D.C. federal judge makes clear that the government cannot use the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to deny children these rights. Our country can both preserve the rights of asylum-seeking children and families and follow public health guidelines. Our government must listen to public health officials who have said as much and end the expulsion of asylum seekers at the border.”

First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.