Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Asylum seekers in the United States whose claims have been denied will receive a second chance, under a new deal between the federal government and attorneys for migrant families.
The settlement of three lawsuits Thursday between the government and attorneys is seen by some as a victory for parents of more than 2,500 migrant children who were forcibly separated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection between April and June. The deal obligates the government to consider "individual cases in which plaintiffs' counsel believes the return of a particular removed" person may be warranted.
Migrant parents who have already been deported are not a part of the settlement, but the government is willing to reconsider reopening their cases.
Migrants who demonstrate "credible fear of persecution or torture" if they return to their home country receive another chance to apply for asylum to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It does not guarantee asylum and permission to remain in the United States.
About 1,000 parents are believed to be affected by the agreement, Muslim Advocates and the Legal Aid Justice Center said. The deal must be approved by a federal judge.
"It's a really important step in the right direction," Johnathan Smith of Muslim Advocates told the Washington Post. "This is by no means the end of the road, but it does a lot of work in curing a lot of the injustice that our clients suffered as a result of the government's policies or practices."
U.S. officials said the agreement, filed in federal court, sets no precedent for future asylum seekers and covers only those represented in the three suits.
The settlement came six weeks after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite all families separated after crossing into the United States. Justice Department data show 416 children of 2,654 separated from their parents are still in government custody.
More than 90,000 people attempting to enter the United States illegally have been arrested in the past 11 months, CBP said.