The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a new lawsuit against the Trump Administration, this time focusing on defending the families separated by President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy. The lawsuit alleges that family separations have caused mental trauma to children affected by the policy. The ACLU is fighting for $3 million to be awarded to each family who has been separated.
This is the latest in the multiple lawsuits filed by the ACLU since President Trump took office. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in July in order to block President Trump’s ICE raid plans, which would target illegal immigrants who have missed court dates regarding their deportation. Advocacy groups around the U.S. protested the call for ICE raids citing some of the illegal immigrants may not have received notices about court dates.
Another ACLU lawsuit filed earlier this year focused on blocking President Trump’s border emergency declaration. Although the funding was upheld by a federal judge, the House appealed the ruling and was unsuccessful in overruling President Trump’s veto. Around $3.6 billion was diverted from territories, states and military funding around the U.S.
Actions regarding illegal immigrants have always been a major topic in the Trump presidency. One of President Trump’s plans was to build or extend the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Although President Trump declared that Mexico would pay for the wall in his campaign for the presidency, the Pentagon cancelled multiple military projects in order to get the $3.6 billion that will be used for the border.
An article on the ACLU website criticizes the need for a wall. In one paragraph the writer claims President Trump is specifically targeting people of color.
“The wall is part of an exclusionary agenda that President Trump has targeted, over and over, at people of color.” Dror Ladin, a Staff Attorney for the ACLU National Security Project, said.
President Trump has made it clear that it isn’t a matter of skin color, citing that a majority of people who mean the U.S. harm come through the Mexican border rather than the Canadian border. Advocates for the wall say that it will help stop the continuous efforts of drug smugglers, sex traffickers, and terrorists, all of which have a presence at the southern border.
The “zero-tolerance” policy implemented by the Trump Administration has separated thousands of children, but it has also saved children from child traffickers. One of the reasons President Trump initiated the policy was in service to the children affected by child traffickers.
Other presidents also separated children for similar reasons, including President Obama. Although the separations didn’t occur under a specific policy, there were still reports of separation. The detention centers in use by the Trump Administration were also used by the Obama Administration in 2014.
Legal asylum seekers who go through the port of entry are not subject to separations, which is what Former Director of ICE Thomas Homan spoke about in front of the House Oversight Committee. Another topic brought up by Homan is the separation of children from U.S. citizens, which happens often.
“If I get a DUI and I have a child in the car, I’m going to be separated,” said Homan.
Separations happen in many circumstances regarding illegal activities. Families who have been separated have all entered the U.S. illegally.