- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Twenty-nine women who entered the U.S. illegally have lost a court challenge to orders that they and their children be deported to Central America.

U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday that the expedited review process that led to the ordered expulsion of the women and their 35 minor children was not unconstitutional.

He said such deportation decisions are an executive branch prerogative.

The judge cleared the way for the expulsion of the families but stayed his decision 14 days to allow for an appeal.

The women are current and former detainees at a U.S.-supervised facility in Berks County. They claim they came to the U.S. to flee gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

A lawyer for the families tells The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1SRaMq3 ) they will immediately appeal.

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