Two migrant children separated from their families at the U.S. border and sent to Connecticut testified in federal court in Bridgeport on Wednesday.
The legal team representing a 9-year-old boy from Honduras and a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador are suing the federal government in an effort to reunite both children with their parents, who they haven't seen in about two months.
During that time, they've been in a group home run by a Groton non-profit.
The 9-year-old boy told the judge he is fearful of gang life in his native Honduras. He also said after being detained at the border he recalled being in an ice box with other crying children.
A psychiatrist who has met with both children testified the kids suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and loss of hope and recommended reunifying the children with their parents immediately.
In court documents, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement insists the children are being well cared for.
Both have been able to speak with their parents over the phone. The boy has spoken to his father six times and the girl has spoken to her mother four times since the end of June.
The father of the boy and the mother of the girl were able to monitor the hearing by video conference from a detention facility in Texas.
Lawyers for the children urged the court to release the parents and children as soon as possible. However, the government says the court has no jurisdiction to release the parents because they are not plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They say the children will be reunited with their parents by July 26.
Before the hearing, a group gathered to show support for the children and to denounce the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents after seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A status hearing has been scheduled for July 18 at 11 a.m.