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“This is a tremendous victory for U.S. families who suffer at the hands of a harsh immigration bureaucracy,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

On the other side, family separation has popped up in the Republican presidential primary, where most candidates argue for more aggressive deportation of illegal immigrants,

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who has surged in the polls, says on the campaign trail that people trying to follow the system legally separate themselves from their families all the time. He pointed to his grandfather, who came to the U.S. alone and worked for years before sending for his family.

He also said people who break other laws in the U.S. are regularly separated from their families by being sent to prison.

“No one wants to break up a family and send someone to jail. But we’re not sending these people to jail. We’re sending them home,” he said. “We’re giving them an opportunity to eventually come back in this country, if they do so the right way. I don’t see that as harsh. I see that as the reality of how justice works in America.”