Separated Immigrant Families File Claims Against U.S. Government


Under the Trump administration’s brutal immigration policies, at least 3,000 children may have been separated from their families at the border according to a July report. Although a federal judge had ruled that all children under the age of 5 must be reunited with their parents by July 14, 2018, it has now become more certain that many children’s lives are in peril as they are in danger of never being reunited with their families.

On Monday, it was reported that eight immigrants are now demanding millions of dollars in damages from the Trump administration for separating them. One of them is a Guatemalan woman who says that an officer told her that her five year-old would be taken, and then he taunted her, saying:

‘Happy Mother’s Day’

According to The Associated Press:

‘In claims filed with the U.S. government Monday, the parents accused immigration officers of taking their children away without giving them information and sometimes mocking them or denying them a chance to say goodbye.’

Their claims also allege that many children remain traumatized even after being reunited with their parents, including a 7-year-old girl who won’t sleep without her mother and a 6-year-old boy who is reluctant to eat.

The Trump Administration has acknowledged that they separated at least 2,000 families last year through implementation of their zero-tolerance policy at the border. It is important to note though that government watchdogs have said that it is not clear exactly how many families were separated in total because agencies did not keep adequate records as the policy was implemented.

The AP reported:

‘In her claim , the Guatemalan woman alleges she was detained in May with her son in a type of temporary detention facility nicknamed a “hielera,” or icebox in Spanish. The immigration officer who taunted her and three other women told them the law had changed, that their children would be taken away, and that they would be deported, the claim alleges.’

The woman also said that another immigration officer woke her up five days later at about 5:00 a.m., ordered her to bathe and clothe her son, and then took her son to another room. The woman begged not to have her son separated and asked if they could be deported together to Guatemala. Her son only spoke the indigenous Guatemalan language of Mam.

The woman said in her claim:

‘The officer laughed. He made fun of her indigenous accent and said, laughingly, “it’s not that easy.”‘

In July, they were reunited but placed in a family detention center and then released in November.

Here’s what Twitter had to say:

The lawyer for the families, Stanton Jones, said the families were entitled to monetary damages because of the government’s “inexplicable cruelty.”

Jones said:

‘The government was harming children intentionally to try to advance what it viewed as a policy objective. It’s heinous and immoral, but it’s also a civil wrong for which the law provides a claim for relief.’

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the claims were submitted to the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. The agencies have six months to respond before a potential lawsuit.

Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube