17 states sue administration over migrant families

17 states sue Trump administration in an effort to force officials to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the Mexico border.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Reuters

17 states, including Washington, New York and California, on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration in an effort to force officials to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, The Associated Press reported.

The states, all of which are led by Democratic attorneys general, joined Washington, D.C., in filing the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle. It’s the first legal challenge by states over the practice.

“The administration’s practice of separating families is cruel, plain and simple,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in an emailed statement.

“Every day, it seems like the administration is issuing new, contradictory policies and relying on new, contradictory justifications. But we can’t forget: the lives of real people hang in the balance.”

Immigration authorities have separated about 2,300 children from their parents in recent weeks, sparking global outrage as images and recordings of weeping children emerged. Many parents are in custody thousands of miles from their children, whom they have not been able to see and have rarely spoken to for a month or more.

Trump last week issued an executive order designed to end the practice under his “zero tolerance” policy, which prosecutes adults who come to the U.S. illegally.

The states which sued, however, argue his order is riddled with caveats and fails to reunite parents and children who have already been torn apart. They accuse the administration of denying the parents and children due process; denying the immigrants, many of whom are fleeing gang violence in Central America, their right to seek asylum; and being arbitrary in applying the policy.

A U.S. judge in San Diego already is considering whether to issue a nationwide injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union that would order the administration to reunite the separated children with their parents, noted AP.

The states that sued are Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Last week, following the signing of the executive order, the Trump administration temporarily suspended the prosecution of parents who illegally cross the border into the U.S. with their children.

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, wrote that it was time to focus on reuniting families which had been separated.

“Now that an EO has been signed ending family separation at the border, it is time to focus on swiftly and safely reuniting the families that have been separated,” she tweeted.




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