Once again, attorneys from Connecticut Legal Services and Worker & Immigration Rights Advocacy met with reporters at the Yale Law School. After a two week battle, they are claiming victory.
“We are here today to celebrate the freedom, fairness, and family that Connecticut values deeply and won an extraordinary victory yesterday,” said Josh Perry, Deputy Director of CT Legal Services.
On Monday, a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador was reunited with her mother and a 9-year-old boy from Honduras with his father. They had been sent to a non-profit in Noank after being separated from their parents who were seeking asylum from violence.
“While V.F.B. and her mother were detained in an immigration facility, Texas government officials led the girl away to shower and when she returned her mother was gone,” said Muneer Ahmad a Clinical Professor of Law at Yale.
He is among the attorneys who filed the lawsuit which they believe is the first case brought by children rather than their parents to challenge the Trump administration zero tolerance policy.
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They had three arguments: Every child matters, every day matters, children’s trauma matters. A judge ruled the separation violated the kids’ constitutional rights.
“Kids belong with their parents, people fleeing persecution deserve protection,” said Ahmad.
“What’s going on as a matter of United States policy is nothing short of political sadism,” said Governor Dannel Malloy.
He says the policy was designed to inflict pain on children and parents to discourage them from seeking asylum and refugee status which he says violates a 1951 treaty.
“The offices necessary to process refugee status cases at the border were purposely understaffed and frequently closed so that people who had legitimate claims could not make them,” claimed Malloy.
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“While we celebrate the reunification of these two children with their parents, we acknowledge that the fight is not over,” said Vanesa Suarez who is with Unidad Latina en Accion.
The group hopes this suit will be a Connecticut Model which can be used to help other immigrant families. The reunion Monday was private and a surprise to the parents who were brought to Connecticut with no idea what would happen.
“I have no doubt that they were more than ready to see each other after what they had gone through,” said one advocate.
Before this reunification, there was already a hearing set for 11:00 a.m. in Bridgeport Wednesday because the judge wanted to hear what the government would do to support these families after reunification.
There is no word if that hearing will still go forward, but if it does, there may be a chance that the families might be there. The judge did want to hear from them.