ARIZONA NEWS

Families with Arizona ties included in lawsuit challenging border separation

May 17, 2018, 5:05 AM
(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)...
(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)
(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)


PHOENIX — A woman and her two young children arrived at the Arizona border in March. They had fled their home in Mexico and were seeking asylum in the United States.

She had hoped that she and her 6-year-old blind daughter and 4-year-old son would find protection together. Instead, border agents sent her to the Eloy Detention Center, and her children were taken to Phoenix where they’re being supervised by the Office of Refuge and Resettlement.

“I have not seen my children for one and a half months,” she said. “I worry about them constantly and don’t know when I will see them.”

The woman, whose name is being withheld for her safety, is part of a nationwide class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of hundreds of immigrant parents. The lawsuit challenges the Trump administration’s practice of separating asylum-seeking parents from their children at the border.

“It’s simply illegal for the government to separate parents and children for no apparent purpose without any kind of finding from a judge or from any government official that the parents are unfit, or without compelling reasons for the child to be separated from the parent,” said Billy Peard, a Tucson-based staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona.

The mother of two from Mexico said they were separated even after she showed her children’s birth certificate to prove their relationship. She said border agents also did not say she was a danger to her children or was abusive.

Another woman included in the lawsuit fled Guatemala with her son. They reached the U.S. in April and asked for asylum. Border agents sent her to the Eloy Detention Center and her son was taken to Phoenix.

The woman, whose name is also being withheld for her safety, said she had only been able to talk to her son once since they were separated.

“I was given a number to call, but no one answers the phone,” she said. “I hope I can be with my child very soon. I miss him and am scared for him.”

The Trump administration has defended its practice of separating children from their parents who are detained after crossing the border illegally. They’ve said they’re doing it to protect the best interest of the children.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson told a Senate committee on Tuesday that separating children from parents who are being prosecuted for breaking the law happens “in the United States every day.”

Peard said he doesn’t see it that way.

“There’s one reason and one reason only that they’re doing this and that’s as a form of punishment,” he said, adding that the Trump administration “wants to dissuade” parents and children from presenting themselves at the border to seek asylum, even though under national law they have the right to do so.

The ACLU is seeking a nationwide preliminary injunction to reunite all separated families. If the lawsuit prevails, the Trump administration would be forced to end its policy of separating families at the border.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Attorney General Mark Brnovich's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

Man sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for trafficking methamphetamine in Arizona

A man was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his role in trafficking methamphetamine in Arizona, officials said. 
1 day ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 23-25

Police find more fentanyl, Scottsdale tells HOAs they can't require overseeding and these Phoenix restaurants were highlighted this week.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)...
KTAR.com

Honduras man charged with high-speed flight from Arizona immigration checkpoint

An 18-year-old man from Honduras was charged with high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint last week, authorities said. 
1 day ago
FILE - Family members and friends march seeking justice for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students in M...
Associated Press

The role the Mexican Army had in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students

The Mexican army’s role in the disappearance of 43 college students and its links to organized crime are at the center of a case.
1 day ago
Tania Estudillo Hernandez. (El Mirage Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Woman in El Mirage arrested for managing human smuggling operations

A woman was arrested Friday evening for her role in a human smuggling operation based in El Mirage, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police shoot, kill man throwing rocks at patrol car

Phoenix police are investigating an officer-involved shooting after a man throwing rocks at a patrol car died Saturday evening.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Families with Arizona ties included in lawsuit challenging border separation