Almost 1,000 children have been illegally separated from their families at the southern border since a federal judge ordered the United States government to stop the inhumane practice more than a year ago.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told a federal judge Tuesday about the accusations in a lengthy court filing filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The files also contained numerous stories about migrants losing their children to the U.S. government for ridiculous reasons.
One migrant lost his daughter because a Border Patrol agent claimed that he hadn’t changed the girl’s diaper.
Another migrant lost his child because of a conviction on a charge of malicious destruction of property – which turned out to be $5.
A father with a speech impediment was separated from his 4-year-old son because he could not clearly answer Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents’ questions.
According to the ACLU, 911 children were separated since the June 26, 2018, court order stopping family separation. The children being separated are also younger. Approximately 20 percent of the new separations affected children under 5 years old, the ACLU said, compared with about 4 percent last year.
These 911 children are in addition to the nearly 3,000 babies and children that were snatched from their parents during the six-week period from May to June 20 last year when Trump initiated his failed “crackdown” on the border.
“They’re taking what was supposed to be a narrow exception for cases where the parent was genuinely a danger to the child and using it as a loophole to continue family separation,” ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt told The Washington Post in an interview. “What everyone understands intuitively and what the medical evidence shows, this will have a devastating effect on the children and possibly cause permanent damage to these children, not to mention the toll on the parents.”