One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking compensation from various Trump administration officials describes what the “zero tolerance” immigration policy did to her and her children. “I ask for justice, dignity and respect because we are all human beings” pic.twitter.com/F4GuOyRotr— Maria Cramer (@GlobeMCramer) September 6, 2018
Couple of months ago, President Donald Trump bowed down to immense political pressure from both side of the aisle and rescinded the malicious “zero-tolerance” policy that ripped apart hundreds of immigrant families who were caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
However, the move didn’t come until the policy had already rendered some lasting trauma on children who had to go through the ordeal of living in deplorable conditions without their parents – and that too for an indefinite amount of time.
Just recently, the class-action lawsuit has been filed by a group of lawyers who claimed the Trump administration should be held accountable for the “life-altering” emotional trauma the immigrant children suffered and cover the costs of their mental health treatments.
The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, argues the distress the separated immigrant families suffered "was life altering and it will continue to affect their mental and emotional well-being for years to come."
Though there is no possible way to entirely erase the recollection of disturbing events from their memories, the lawsuit sought unspecified monetary damages for children affected by the family separation policy.
Moreover, the suit also reportedly sought creating a fund that could pay for therapy for some 2,000 kids who were ripped away from their parents.
After the Trump administration abandoned its contentious family separation policy, it was faced with the arduous task of reuniting immigrant children with their parents — a process that was not only dismally slow, but was also carried out pretty inefficiently.
For instance, amidst the chaos to reunite children and parents, it was reported that records linking the families, including “family identification number,” disappeared and some were even destroyed, leaving the authorities scrambling to find ways to identify connections between migrant family members, according to two Department of Homeland Security officials.
Moreover, according to the latest court filing, hundreds of children separated from their parents at the border still remain separated from them, including 497 in government custody.
It might turn out that some of these children will remain orphaned when all is said and done.
However, the latest lawsuit highlighted yet another major repercussion of the controversial policy which is not being paid enough attention to.
“The damage is unbelievable, and the focus has been on reunification because, of course, the judge has ordered that," attorney Jesse Bless told reporters. "But now it's about restoration. And that is something the government is not taking responsibility for, but so desperately needs to be done, and we're here to make sure that happens."
The lawsuit also detailed deep emotional wounds of several immigrants’ kids even after they were reunited with their families.
For instance, a 6-year-old immigrant boy sobbed on his way to school and begged his mother to promise she will not disappear again.
Likewise, an 11-year-old referred to in the lawsuit by his initials of C.J, woke up with nightmares.
"Sometimes," the lawsuit said, "C.J.'s nightmares are so bad that he falls out of bed."
There were also previously reported cases where, for instance, a 5-year-old boy after being reunited with his Brazilian mother showed disturbing changes in his behavior. From being afraid of people to pretending to be immigration officers and asking his mother to be breast-fed, the little boy was nothing like before.
Another 3-year-old boy, who was also reunited with his family recently, pretended to vaccinate and handcuff people around him, a practice he must have observed while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
All these signs are indicative of a tragic repercussions of such forceful separations, which was bound to take a toll on children’s mental health, their memory and just their personalities overall.
Such reports, which really are not that surprising since this entire cruel enterprise has been impetuous from the start, just corroborates the fears of many mental health experts who warned about such separations.
The migrant families are clearly struggling to get back to normal daily routines and it’s just fair the government helps them in it.
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo