Immigrants in handcuffs and ankle chains arrive at the Federal Courthouse for hearings, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end family separations at the border. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Lawyer: Feds unexpectedly drop charges against 17 immigrants

June 21, 2018 - 12:04 pm

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A civil rights group attorney says federal prosecutors unexpectedly dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 adult immigrants who crossed the border with children.

Efren Olivares, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said outside of the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, that the 17 immigrants were supposed to have been sentenced Thursday morning for improperly entering the U.S.

Olivares says the 17 will likely be placed in immigration detention, though he didn't know whether they would be reunited immediately with their children or released altogether. Asked if they had any reaction to the charges against them being dropped, he said, "They're asking about their children, frankly."

The Texas Civil Rights Project is interviewing adults to track them and their children through separate government systems.

The dropping of the charges comes a day after President Donald Trump reversed a policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents upon entering the U.S. without permission.

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