Lawyers request asylum hearings for deported parents in class action lawsuit

SAN DIEGO -- No action was taken in court Friday on a motion seeking relief for 21 deported parents who were separated from their children, who remain in the U.S.

Lawyers for the parents involved in the class action lawsuit have asked the judge to order the U.S. government to allow the parents to return to the United States at their own expense and seek asylum.

“All we’re asking for is that they get a chance to have an asylum hearing,” Lee Gelernt with the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project said. “We’re not asking that they be allowed into the country permanently, we’re not even asking that the government fly them back. They will get here on their own as long as the government gives them permission to show up.”

Government lawyers argued the parents have already gone through the screening process and were denied. “If the process gets them the result they like it’s great, but if it doesn’t they should get another crack at it?” said one lawyer who wasn’t physically present at the hearing but joined via phone. “It’s profoundly unfair.”

But Gelernt said 19 of the 21 parents didn’t get a hearing when they were in the United States.

“It’s not a situation where they’re doubting their hearing; they never even got one,” Gelernt said.

The judge has yet to make a ruling on the case but could reach a decision within the next couple of weeks.

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