Separated migrant families sue U.S. government, demand $3 million each

The Washington Times | 2/11/2019 | Staff
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Six migrant families filed multi-million dollar claims Monday against the Trump administration over last year’s family separations, saying they need the money to pay for counseling and other medical care to heal from the “torture” they said they suffered.

The legal claims are the latest effort by immigrant-rights groups to punish the administration for the separations of thousands of children, which resulted from the Justice Department’s zero tolerance policy for illegal border crossers.

Families - Lawyers - Policy - Distress - Parents

The families and their lawyers say the policy intended to inflict “emotional distress” on the parents and children, hoping it would make attempting to sneak into the U.S. so uncomfortable that fewer people would attempt it.

“It succeeded with devastating consequences,” said Mark Fleming, associate director of litigation at the National Immigration Justice Center.

Tolerance - Policy - Justice - Department - Charges

Under the zero tolerance policy, the Justice Department began to file criminal charges against most illegal immigrants for illegal entry, a misdemeanor, or re-entry, a felony. The administration said the goal was to create some consequences for families who were breaking the law but generally had been released under the previous policies.

But since the criminal justice system can’t hold families together, the parents were separated from their children, who were then deemed unaccompanied and were placed with the Department of Health and Human Services, which put them in shelters or sought sponsors to take them.

Judge - June - End - Separations - Families

A federal judge in June ordered an end to the separations and ordered the families reunited. That sent the government scrambling to reconnect more than 2,000 children who had been separated from parents who, in some cases, had already been deported.

A legal battle over the pace of reunifications is still being fought in a federal court in California, but Monday’s action is a separate step, seeking to make those snared in the separations whole.

Claims

The claims were...
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