A US judge has blocked expulsions of unaccompanied migrant children entering the US, halting a pandemic-era White House policy.
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the US DC District Court said that risk of Covid-19 could not be used to turn out the minors without due process.
Since March, the White House has used an emergency health declaration to remove migrants before they could asylum.
It affected thousands of minors.
In a two-page order, Judge Sullivan wrote that unaccompanied migrant children must be granted protections established by Congress, which gives some immigrants who enter the chance to apply for asylum, and bars migrant children from being deported.
Last spring, the Trump administration cited the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to override these protections, citing a law from the late 19th century which allows the government bar to people from entering to stop the spread of a communicable disease in the US.
Since mid-March, border officials have carried out expulsions for most migrants who do not have travel documents before they are able to meet with an immigration judge or speak with an asylum officer.