CT News Junkie

A Connecticut news site that understands the usual media offerings just…aren’t…enough.

Feds Release Separated Parents

by | Jul 16, 2018 12:55pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Courts, Immigration

Thomas Breen / New Haven Independent

Updated—In response to a landmark ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Victor Bolden, two immigrant children being held in Connecticut will be reunited with their parents.

The federal government agreed to release the parents from a detention facility in Texas, where they had been separated from their children under a short-lived Trump administration border crackdown on undocumented families.

New Haven Independent file photo On Monday morning, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham filed a Notice of Compliance with the U.S. District Court of Connecticut in which he announced that J.S.R., a 9-year-old boy from Honduras, and V.F.B., a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador, will be reunited with their respective father and mother today.

Click here to read the full notice.

The two migrant children were separated from their respective parents by federal immigration officials after the two families crossed the U.S.-Mexico border over a month ago. Last Friday, Judge Bolden, a former New Haven corporation counsel who lives in the Westville neighborhood, ruled that the federal government violated the two children’s constitutional rights to due process and equal treatment for people with disabilities under the federal Rehabilitation Act. Bolden ordered the federal government to reunite the parents with their children before a “status conference” follow up in court in Bridgeport on Wednesday.

According to Durham, the federal government will reunite the parents and the children today. He wrote that the U.S. Attorney’s office has also secured the parents’ paroled release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, Tex.

Durham wrote that the U.S. Attorney’s Office advised the court on July 11 that it had submitted a formal request to ICE that the government expedite the reunification of these two particular children with their parents.

“The Defendants hereby notify the Court that the request of the United States Attorney’s Office has been acted upon, and Plaintiffs will be reunited with their parents today, July 16, 2018,” he wrote.

He also wrote that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had requested that ICE release the parents on parole from their current detention in South Texas.

“Having considered all the factors presented in this case,” he wrote, “ICE will be granting Plaintiffs’ parents’ request for parole from custody under the terms and conditions set forth by ICE at the time of parole. Plaintiffs’ parents parole from custody will also take place on July 16, 2018.”

“Today’s announcement promises to bring these families’ nightmare to an end,” Connecticut Legal Services Deputy Director Joshua Perry wrote in a press release following the announcement.

Thomas Breen / New Haven Independent Hannah Schoen, a law student intern with the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, is also quoted in the press release as saying, “Releasing these kids and their parents is the first step in addressing the trauma that the government’s cruel ‘zero tolerance policy’ has caused on J.S.R. and V.F.B. We are hopeful that these families will now begin to heal, even as we know it will take months or years for them to
overcome the harm caused by the government.”

U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal said on Monday that the circumstances of the parents and children being reunited will be determined by the Department of Justice. He said they will be reunited in a confidential way.

“I will continue to support their legal case,” Blumenthal said.

He said the parents and the children will be present for the court hearing Wednesday, July 18.

Blumenthal said he hopes it will be a permanent reunification.

An earlier version of this story follows:

Judge Finds Separation Unconstitutional


Two immigrant children being held in Connecticut are to see their parents again this week thanks to a landmark ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Victor Bolden.

Bolden, a former New Haven city corporation counsel who lives in the Westville neighborhood, issued the ruling Friday. He ordered the federal government to bring to his Bridgeport courtroom next Wednesday the undocumented parents of a 9-year-old Honduran boy and a 14-year-old Salvadoran girl who were separated and detained far away from them under a short-lived Trump administration “zero tolerance” crackdown that has ignited international condemnation.

Before next Wednesday’s court session, Bolden ordered, the feds must arrange daily video conferences between the children and their parents, and come up with a plan to address the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that the separation has caused the children.

Bolden issued the orders Friday in a case filed on behalf of the families by Connecticut Legal Services and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

His order is the first time a federal judge has ruled that the Trump policy violates the constitutional rights not just of parents, but of children as well, the two legal organizations reported in a joint press release Saturday. He will conduct a status conference with the parties at Wednesday’s court date.

Click here to read the full ruling.

Bolden noted that one of the boys, for instance, witnessed gang violence back home, escaped with a father who’d been framed for a murder, then survived at times when his father gave up eating in order to keep his son alive. After than being confined in an “icebox” in the U.S. and separated from his father, the boy “does not sleep well, does not trust adults, and is depressed and tearful. He is terrified of the prospect of returning to Honduras, because of his fear of gang violence there and the harm that could befall his father or his family. ”

The ruling does deny the plaintiffs’ request for an immediate injunction requiring that the families be reunited.

“Such relief is being addressed by another court. Indeed, these parents are class members and therefore parties in that other case and any such relief should be obtained in and through that proceeding,” Bolden wrote.

“Judge Bolden’s ruling acknowledges the deep harm that the government inflicted on V.F.B. and J.S.R. by forcibly separating them from their parents,” said Hannah Schoen, a law student intern with the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School. “The children must be brought back together with their loving parents in an environment where they are safe, comforted, and stress-free — in the community, not in a tent city in the desert,” Schoen said.

Bolden was influenced by testimony offered in court last week by New Haven child psychiatrist Andrés Martin, who had examined the children. He said the separation caused them to suffer PTSD with serious potential short- and long-term effects. Click here to read a full story on that court session.

Thomas Breen / New Haven Independent In court last week, Michelle McConaghy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued that the court did not have the authority to order the parents’ release.

Connecticut’s elected officials Saturday praised Bolden’s ruling.

“The court has spoken strongly — the cruel separation of these children from their families is simply unconstitutional. Having worked with the children’s lawyers, I am relieved that these children are able to reunite with their families — but this fight is far from over,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal stated in a release. “These children do not deserve a minute more of suffering, and must be reunited with their parents in a swift, timely manner. President Trump’s zero tolerance policy has wreaked havoc on our nation, and we must continue to fight for the families who have been ripped apart by our government.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called the ruling “a step in the right direction” but “hardly consolation for the child abuse inflicted by this president.”

Connecticut’s elected officials Saturday praised Bolden’s ruling.

“The court has spoken strongly — the cruel separation of these children from their families is simply unconstitutional. Having worked with the children’s lawyers, I am relieved that these children are able to reunite with their families — but this fight is far from over,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal stated in a release. “These children do not deserve a minute more of suffering, and must be reunited with their parents in a swift, timely manner. President Trump’s zero tolerance policy has wreaked havoc on our nation, and we must continue to fight for the families who have been ripped apart by our government.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called the ruling “a step in the right direction” but “hardly consolation for the child abuse inflicted by this president.”

Eyes On California

Meanwhile, Bolden did not grant complete relief under the preliminary injunction.

He said the children have suffered a constitutional violation, but “the balance of the equities and the public interest disfavor this Court issuing a preliminary injunction
because that order could interfere with the Government’s ability to comply with the relief ordered in Ms. L.”

That’s the California lawsuit challenging the government’s separation of families seeking asylum and brought forth on behalf of Mrs. L, a Congolese mother and her 7-year-old daughter who were separated by thousands of miles for months after crossing into the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego.

On June 26, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered U.S. authorities to reunite families who had been separated at the U.S. border within 30 days.

The government in the Connecticut litigation argued that the Court should avoid entering an order duplicative of the California Order.

Bolden agreed but only to the extent that the California Order will provide relief for the two children being housed at Noank Community Support Services.

The two children “are entitled to relief to address the consequences of the Government’s unconstitutional separation of them from their parents, a harm, based on Dr. Martin’s unrebutted testimony, likely to continue even after family reunification,” Bolden wrote.

Bolden ordered the parents to be present for the July 18 Connecticut hearing.

“Because this proceeding will now address specific constitutional relief related to the well-being of the children, the Court believes it necessary to have them and their parents there, in the event any testimony is necessary from either of the children or their respective parents,” Bolden wrote.

He ordered that relief be granted for the children in the Connecticut case before July 26.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Share this story with others.

Comments

Connecticut Network

Categories

Our Partners

Sponsored Messages