What to Know
- Scores of children separated from their families were sent to government-contracted shelters or foster care hundreds of miles away.
- A judge has ruled the federal government's separation of two children currently housed in Connecticut from their parents is unconstitutional
- Under court order, the Trump administration is scrambling to reunite migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Connecticut judge has ruled that the federal government’s separation of two immigrant children from their families is unconstitutional.
In a ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Bolden declared the actions of the Trump Administration unconstitutional and ordered the government to take steps to correct the harm it has caused.
The two children in question, a 9-year-old boy from Honduras and a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador, were each separated from their parents and placed in a group home run by a Groton non-profit. The legal team is suing the federal government in hopes of having the families reunited.
At an emergency hearing Wednesday, 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.
The court felt that the plaintiffs offered enough evidence to prove that the government’s actions traumatized the children.
“The Court agrees that the Government violated J.S.R.’s and V.F.B.’s constitutional rights by forcibly removing them from their parents without due process of law. The Government failed to provide the children with notice or a hearing, instead taking their parents, while distracting the children,” Bolden wrote in the decision.
Judge Bolden’s decision is the first ruling in the country to find the practice violates the constitutional rights of the children and not just the parents.
The court has ordered a status conference on July 18 where the government has been ordered produce the children’s parents and each party will present a plan for addressing the children’s trauma. This will be the first time the children have seen their parents in months.
The court has also ordered daily video conferences between the children and their parents.
Bolden was sworn in as a US District judge on January 7, 2015. He received an AB degree from Columbia College in 1986 and a Juris Doctor for Harvard Law School in 1989.