Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Separated children and families sue the Trump Administration

The Trump administration’s family separation policy resulted in thousands of traumatized children and parents who were “cruelly and inhumanely separated from each other,” according to a lawsuit filed against the administration yesterday.

The lawsuit from the ACLU covers families separated at the southern border from 2017 through the present. “The suffering and trauma inflicted on these little children and parents is horrific,” Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead lawyer in the family separation lawsuit, said in a statement. “Tragically, it could take years for these families to heal. Some may never recover, but we are fighting to give them a chance.”

The suit was filed in federal court in Arizona, and names several current and former Trump administration officials as defendants. It alleges that “[thousands of children, including many two years old or younger, have been torn from their parents’ arms with little or no warning].”

According to the lawsuit, children were sent to facilities hundreds or thousands of miles away from their parents and did not see each other again for a year or more, the suit alleges. The ACLU is representing multiple children and families from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who were separated along the border in Arizona for up to 16 months.

The lawsuit describes the conditions experienced by children as young as 6, and their parents, once they crossed into the U.S. and were taken into custody. In many instances, the lawsuit alleges parents were tricked into signing removal documents they couldn’t understand.

In addition to damages, the lawsuit seeks the creation of a fund to pay for professional mental health services for affected families. The lawsuit cites violations of the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable seizure of children), the Fifth Amendment due process clause and equal protection.