When migrants arrived at the southern border between the United States and Mexico, hundreds of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were armed and ready to push back. Although the people who arrived at the borders were members of unarmed families, ICE was instructed to do what they needed to stop people from crossing the border without documentation. Hundreds of children were separated from their parents, and families were torn apart – now eight families are suing the Trump administration for the way their kids were treated.
Alleging that ICE agents mocked and traumatized their children, these families have filed an official complaint against the United States government demanding $3,000,000 in damages.
Although the Trump Administration acknowledged that it gave the order for ICE to separate 2,000 families last year through the tough-as-nails approach at the border, they refuse to pay the families money for the trauma caused. There are still children who have been separated from their families and are being held in custody at the expense of the American taxpayer.
Stanton Jones, a lawyer, is representing the eight immigrant families. He argues that they are entitled to monetary damages because their children experienced “inexplicable cruelty” while in ICE custody.
The suit was filed with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The act provides these agencies six months to offer a response before the lawsuit goes to trial.
One woman, from Guatemala, claimed that one of Trump’s agents took her five-year-old son away from her before taunting, “Happy Mother’s Day.”
The claims all say that Trump’s officers ripped the families apart without even giving them a chance to say goodbye. Children remain traumatized, according to the claims, and have been unable to recover. Some children are refusing to eat because of the abuse they suffered while under the custody of the Trump administration.
The Department of Homeland Security refused to comment on the claim.
One of the claimants, the woman from Guatemala, claims that ICE detained her and her son in May in a facility nicknamed “Hierlera,” which means Icebox in Spanish.
The immigration officer who took her son away taunted her and told her the law had changed, and she would not be able to be with her boy. The woman begged to remain with her son, and even asked they be deported together to Guatemala, but the agents refused to listen to her.
“The officer laughed,” she said. “He made fun of her indigenous accent and said, laughingly, ‘It’s not that easy.’”
After two months of separation, the mother was reunited with her son in July. They were placed in another detention center.
“The government was harming children intentionally to try to advance what it viewed as a policy objective,” Stanton Jones said. “It’s heinous and immoral, but it’s also a civil wrong for which the law provides a claim for relief.”
Do you think these immigrant families deserve compensation for the way their children were treated?
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