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US to change how it handles 'voluntary departure' immigrant cases in California




In Mexico, an American woman is reunited with her Mexican husband, who was an undocumented worker in California. The splitting up of families has become a major issue as the U.S. works towards immigration reform.
In Mexico, an American woman is reunited with her Mexican husband, who was an undocumented worker in California. The splitting up of families has become a major issue as the U.S. works towards immigration reform.
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U.S. border patrol says it will change key aspects of how it deals with some Mexican nationals who face deportation in Southern California. The changes will affect situations known as 'voluntary departure,' when an undocumented immigrant chooses to be removed rather than contest deportation.

Related: Understaffed immigration judges face rise of migrant cases

The changes include providing more information on the right to an immigration hearing and giving those in custody a list of legal services.

It's the result of a settlement after a 2013 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. For more, we're joined by NPR reporter John Burnett.

According to the ACLU, the terms of the settlement include the following:

In response to the settlement, the Department of Homeland Security said in an email to Take Two that "in no case is coercion or deception tolerated" at the agency. The full statement:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) use voluntary return as an option for individuals who may request to be returned home in lieu of removal proceedings, but in no case is coercion or deception tolerated. In an effort to address the issues raised in this litigation, both agencies have agreed to supplement their existing procedures to ensure that foreign nationals fully comprehend the potential consequences of returning voluntarily to Mexico.” 

Related: For kids facing a judge in immigration court, 'a strange experience'

Previously: Immigration news: Inside LA's courts, overwhelmed by child migrant cases