Trump Administration Releases Asylum-Seeking Mother Following ACLU Lawsuit

March 6, 2018 10:00 pm

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NEW YORK — Just days after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit to reunite an asylum-seeking mom and her 7-year-old daughter, the government has abruptly released the mother. The parent and child are still awaiting reunification, however.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had this reaction:

“We are thrilled that the mother has been released and look forward to the government immediately reuniting her with her daughter. But there remain many other families who have been separated, and we will continue to attack this horrific family separation practice.”

The mother and daughter in this case were fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only to be forcibly torn from each other in the U.S. and detained separately 2,000 miles apart. The mother was held in San Diego, and the daughter was sent to a facility in Chicago, where she has sat alone and traumatized for four months.

Reports arose in December that the government was considering a new plan to separate border-crossing parents from their children as a way to scare others from seeking refuge in the U.S. The ACLU challenged the Trump administration’s family separation practice and the case has sparked national outrage.

The ACLU lawsuit, Ms. L v. ICE, cites violations of the Constitution’s due process clause, federal law protecting asylum seekers, and the government’s own directive to release asylum seekers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security are among the named defendants. The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is co-counsel with the ACLU.

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