- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey to Sue Trump Administration Over Illegal Family Separation Policy
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 11 attorneys general in announcing that they will be filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and relevant Trump Administration officials over their illegal and immoral policy of forcibly separating children from their families at the southern border.
The lawsuit, which will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, will ask the Court to order the federal government to immediately end the cruel and unconstitutional family separation policy and to reunite the thousands of families that have been torn apart as a result. The attorneys general will claim that the policy violates due process, equal protection, and federal law. The lawsuit will further contend that yesterday’s executive order does not actually end the illegal and cruel family separation policy, as the defendants have no immediate plan to reunite the families who have been separated or to keep families together going forward.
“This is about our duty as a nation to protect children and keep families together,” said AG Healey. “We’ve seen this Administration pass executive orders and issue proclamations to muddy the waters when they’ve done something illegal. We are suing to make sure this cruel policy ends, that families are reunited, and that this never happens again.”
“The ‘zero tolerance’ policy adopted by the Justice Department has not only torn families apart, causing severe emotional trauma to children; it has also created a humanitarian crisis that the new executive order does nothing to resolve,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition. “No provisions seem to have been made to ensure that parents and children can be reunited as soon as their cases are resolved. Instead of rushing to build large-scale family detention facilities, the administration needs to prioritize coordinating between agencies to return children to their parents as fast as possible. This is a human rights violation, and it must be corrected immediately.”
Announced in April, the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy required immediate separation of children from their parents and criminal prosecution of all adults who enter illegally at the southern border, including those seeking asylum.
The lawsuit will also argue that while the separation policy starts at the southern border it impacts states across the country – including Massachusetts. Children who have been separated from their parents at the border already have been sent to states across the country.
On Tuesday, AG Healey joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in sending a letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calling on them immediately end the “zero tolerance” policy of forcibly separating children from their families at the border.
Joining AG Healey in filing the lawsuit will be the states of Washington, California, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania.