US immigration kept asylum seeker and daughter apart for months, suit says
Amanda Holpuchin New York
US immigration authorities have kept a Congolese woman seeking asylum separated from her seven-year-old daughter for four months, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday.
Lawyers said authorities had not explained why the two were separated and claimed the move indicates the Trump administration is using a controversial tactic meant to deter asylum seekers: separating parents from children indefinitely.
Last year, administration officials said they were considering implementing such a policy. It has not been formally announced.
“Under the radar screen they are doing it anyway in practice,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project. “We are hearing about dozens and dozens of cases.”
Child welfare groups have warned against such separations, saying they can have long-lasting consequences for the safety, health, development and wellbeing of children.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in US district court on Monday against the federal immigration agencies that have overseen the separation of the Congolese woman, named as Ms L in court documents, and her daughter.
“When the officers separated them, Ms L could hear her daughter in the next room frantically screaming that she wanted to remain with her mother,” the lawsuit said.
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