Three immigrants sue feds over family separations, seek daily updates on children
Posted June 20, 2018 8:30 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Three undocumented immigrants who filed suit Wednesday over being forcibly separated from their children are asking a federal court to require the government to provide them "reliable, daily" information on the well-being of their children.
In a request for a restraining order, two plaintiffs say they speak to their children only a few times a week while the third says he knows very little about what happened to his daughter.
The immigrants want the government to provide daily updates on their children, where they are and when they will be reunited as well as give them the ability to talk to their children on a frequent basis.
Earlier this week the immigrants filed the federal lawsuit, saying separating families is a a punishment that violates the Fifth Amendment's right to due process, according to a court papers filed Wednesday.
The plaintiffs are two Guatemalan nationals and one Honduran national. According to the lawsuit, they two of them crossed the border and sought asylum while the third sought "protection."
The three individuals, identified only by initials, are challenging the separation and requesting to be reunited with their children.
"Families naturally experience forced separation as torture and they urge this court to stop it," says the complaint, which was filed in US District Court in Washington.
One of the plaintiffs says she went to a California port of entry in early May, seeking asylum for herself and her three children, according to the court document. They were transferred to a facility in Texas where they had a "credible fear" screening with an asylum officer.
The complaint says two days later the family was told to gather their belongings. They were told there was good news and bad news, the court filing says.
The family had received a positive credible fear determination but they were to be split up -- the children going to New York while the mother would stay in Texas.
They have been apart for more than a month and the woman has yet to see an immigration judge about her asylum claim, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit names as defendants the US Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Customs and Border Protection, US Department of Health and Human Services, US Office of Refugee Resettlement and several federal employees, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
"As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation," said Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton.
The Department of Health and Human Services didn't immediately respond to CNN's email requesting comment on the litigation.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating families at the border though it currently doesn't apply to parents and children already detained.