Reason reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing President Donald Trump’s administration for continuing to separate families at the border. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of San Diego, which is the court that issued an injunction against the practice a little over one year ago.
According to the ACLU, over 900 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border between June 28, 2018, and June 29, 2019. The non-profit organization also claims that these separations typically target parents based on “highly dubious” allegations of their unfitness as parents and “minor” criminal history.
“It is shocking that the Trump administration continues to take babies from their parents,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney on the lawsuit.
“Over 900 more families join the thousands of others previously torn apart by this cruel and illegal policy. The administration must not be allowed to circumvent the court order over infractions like minor traffic violations.”
The lawsuit accuses Trump’s administration of bypassing “traditional due process and child custody standards” to enact a zero-tolerance border policy, which is reportedly intended to prevent migrants from attempting to cross the border. Interestingly, Reason points out that Trump argued for his zero-tolerance approach by pointing to the 1997 Flores agreement, which dictates that minors are treated with “dignity, respect and special concern” — something many would argue the Trump administration is not doing.
— reason (@reason) August 1, 2019
The lawsuit comes on the heels of reports of deteriorating border detention facility conditions and criticisms of Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, which forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as they wait for their court date to determine if they may cross.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, an article by Debbie Nathan at The Intercept suggests that the MPP policy is exposing asylum seekers to kidnapping, rape, and murder. Many migrants are placed in Mexican border cities that are notorious for high crime rates and deemed unsafe by travel by the U.S. State Department. In addition, these cities reportedly pose more danger to migrants as they lack local ties, meaning locals often don’t care — or know — if they are robbed, beaten, raped, or murdered. According to Nathan, migrants are at a “severe risk” of experiencing all four.
“Not everyone in the MPP is assaulted, but even those who avoid such treatment are traumatized,” Nathan wrote, adding that a couple with two young daughters discovered a corpse covered in blood as they were walking downtown and noticed a foul smell from a garbage can.