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17 states file suit against Trump’s immigration policy separating children and parents

Attorneys general say President Trump’s June 20 executive order ending aspects of the policy is only the beginning.

New York state, courtesy of Attorney General Barbara

New York state, courtesy of Attorney General Barbara Underwood, joined a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its policy of separating families arrested crossing the southern border. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

New York and a host of other states are taking President Trump to court over his controversial immigrant family separation policy.

State Attorney General Barbara Underwood along with attorneys general of 16 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday contending the policy violates the parents’ and children’s constitutional rights to due process. The policy, which has resulted in at least 300 migrant children being shipped to New York City foster facilities, has led to severe mental trauma for the children, according to Underwood.

Twelve children who have been relocated to New York City after being separated at the border have been treated at hospitals for physical and mental illnesses, Underwood said, including one who was suicidal.

In another incident, she said a South American boy separated from his father tried to jump out a second-story window of a New York group home where he was living.

“This is not who we are as a country, and we won’t stand by as the Trump administration undermines the Constitution and our rights,” Underwood said in a statement.

The suit alleges the separations were done without any determination if the parent was a threat, and that only families who cross at the southern border are targeted.

The attorneys general also argue that the policy is “arbitrary and capricious” because it violates various laws designed to protect children.

Although President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Wednesday that ended some elements of the separation policy, the administration hasn’t provided further details about how families will be reunited.

State prosecutors are seeking court orders to reunite the children with their parents, declare the policy unconstitutional and order the federal government to share information on the locations of the children and their treatment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York will fight the policy anyway it can.

“It’s time for this country to look in the mirror and remember who we are and what we are about. We must protect immigrant children and defend our principles, our rights, and our basic humanity,” he said in a statement.

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