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Oakland judge rejects Biden admin push to throw out family separation suit

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A federal judge in Oakland rejected an appeal from the federal government Tuesday night, opening up a path for three immigrant families to sue over being forcibly separated at the border.

Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore denied the U.S. government's motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the families, saying that "[t]he fact that the Government is now attempting to evade liability for a policy that is still being unwound, as some children are still waiting to be reunited with their families, is not legally defensible."  

Westmore also denied the feds' push to move the case to Arizona.

The government's appeal was its response to the families filing the lawsuit, which they did after the feds shut down settlement negotiations back in Dec. 2021. 

The three families sued the federal government in June 2021. The three plaintiffs – named as Wilbur P.G., Erendira C.M., and Joshua G.G. – were stopped at the Mexican border in May 2018 while fleeing violence in their home countries. Government agents then separated the families from their children, aged 6, 11 and 13, without notice or explanation. The government did not provide any information about their children while the parents were detained.

"I am glad the court allowed us to move forward in holding the government accountable for the harm they caused my daughter and me when they separated us," said Erendira C.M., an indigenous Guatemalan mother whose daughter who was six at the time of separation. "I will continue to fight to ensure that no family suffers the way my daughter and I have suffered."    

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