Administration spurns court order to stop separating families -- ACLU files suit
Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States illegally and turning themselves in to request asylum, in El Paso, Texas, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

"Where are they? How are they treated? When will they be reunited? Why were they still separated?"


Court documents from the ACLU revealed Tuesday that President Donald Trump's war on immigrants continues unabated—the administration has for a year been flouting a court order to stop separating children from their parents at the border, resulting in the wrenching apart of at least 900 families.

The ACLU filed suit in San Diego Tuesday to stop the government from continuing the practice, which was meant to be kept only in cases of neglect or danger to the child.

"It is shocking that the Trump administration continues to take babies from their parents," ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. "Over 900 more families join the thousands of others previously torn apart by this cruel and illegal policy."

The Trump administration has continued to separate families for relatively minor infractions like traffic tickets, according to the ACLU.

In court documents, the civil liberties organization alleges that Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) reasoning for separating families included that a father was HIV+; that a parent didn't immediately change the diaper of his sick and sleeping child; and multiple unsubstantiated allegations of abuse.

"There is no limit to the depths of the cruelty of the Trump regime," commented soccer agent Ron Waxman.

Gelernt, in an interview with The Washington Post's Maria Sacchetti, noted the government was using the narrow language of the original ruling to get around its substance.

"They're taking what was supposed to be a narrow exception for cases where the parent was genuinely a danger to the child and using it as a loophole to continue family separation," said Gelernt.

And, he added, the damage done by family separation is itself a danger to the child.

"What everyone understands intuitively and what the medical evidence shows," said Gelernt, is that "this will have a devastating effect on the children and possibly cause permanent damage to these children, not to mention the toll on the parents."

In a tweet, journalist Wajahat Ali wondered what a year of forced separation had done, and was doing, to the administration's victims.

"Where are they?" asked Ali. "How are they treated? When will they be reunited? Why were they still separated?"

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