A class action suit has been filed against Trump’s government on Wednesday by a group of lawyers at a district court in Massachusetts seeking unspecified damages for mental trauma caused to children for separating them from their families under “zero-tolerance policy”. The suit argues that the experience was “life altering for the children and will affect their mental and emotional balance for several years. The “zero-tolerance policy” at the border which has now been withdrawn, led to separation of nearly 500 children from their parents and officials are now trying to reunite these families as per the orders of California’s federal court.
Officials and ACLU’s steering committee is working in tandem to track down deported parents and unite them with their children which were kept in government custody. But the lawsuit argues that this re-unification process will not be able to undo the damage caused to due to government policy. According to attorney Jesse Bless who is part of the lawyers’ group representing affected families, though the focus is on reunification as per court’s orders, the government is not taking responsibility for damage restoration, and this is what the lawsuit will focus on.
A similar measure had been suggested by ACLU in July through a court filing, though spokeswoman for Dept. of Health and Human Services stated that she cannot comment on pending litigations. The now infamous “zero-tolerance policy” was defended by government officials for immigrant children, though several child health experts had spoken vociferously against it before it was ended. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics called the policy as “child abuse that was sanctioned by government”. The lawsuit has described the conditions of three traumatized children at the government shelter that are unable to sleep due to painful separation memories. The attorneys representing the children and their parents have only mentioned their clients by their initials due to fear of social stigma and retaliation.