Lawyers Seek To Reunify Immigrant Children Held In Connecticut With Parents In Texas

Jul 11, 2018

Attorneys for two children detained in Connecticut after being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border have asked a judge to order that they be reunited with their families immediately. Dozens of people rallied outside a district courthouse in Bridgeport today in support of the children.

“The incarceration of migrant families, end it now...end it now. The mass trials, unjust trials, end it now...end it now.”

Protesters chanted and waved signs outside the courthouse calling for the release of the children, a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador and a 9-year-old boy from Honduras. Immigration officials took the children away from their parents, who watched the hearing from a detention center in Texas. The two children are staying at a group home in Groton.

Allan Brison, an activist with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who attended the rally, said, “I think this is just a terrible thing. Taking children away from their parents in the middle of the night and not even telling the kids where their parents are. What have we come to? What has this nation come to? I mean is there any principles whatsoever?”

Vanessa Suarez with Unidad Latina en Accion helped organize the rally. “We’re here because we’re going to fight for these children. We’re here because we’re going to watch how this government, how courthouses, how’re they going to be complicit in this administration. We have people denouncing the policies of Trump, but we’re going to keep an eye on what is happening because it is up to us to make sure that they do right by these kids. We’re not going to leave these kids alone.”

Yale child psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Martin who examined the children testified that they are showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. He recommended they be reunited with their parents. “These are children who have been traumatized repeatedly, the separation is traumatic. There’s no disagreement that the children need to be reunited and as expeditiously as possible, and now it’s all in the details as to how this will happen in a way that is adherent to the law.”  

Hannah Schoen, who is on the legal team for the children, said the federal government's plan to reunite them with their parents in a detention facility in Texas is unacceptable and that the court could resolve the issue immediately. They’re asking the judge for both parents and children to be released.

“That is not going to be viable in terms of their health condition, that will further traumatize them. They need to be released so that they can further recover from what’s happened to them.”

Federal prosecutors argued the judge didn’t need to make a ruling because another federal judge already ordered children separated from families under the Trump administration's immigration policy to be reunited with their relatives.

The judge has set another hearing for next week.