Three migrant dads sue U.S. government for millions after being separated from their children

Three fathers who attempted to enter the U.S. with their children are suing the government for millions of dollars.

The migrant parents allege that the separation from their children at the U.S. border caused lasting harm for the families, according to a news release from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm of Covington & Burlington.

(Photo by Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The claims, filed this week by the law firm and advocacy group on behalf of three fathers, “describe in agonizing detail the experiences of the fathers and children: their forcible separation, their suffering in custody for months, the deportation of the fathers without their children, and the ongoing fallout the families are enduring,” according to the news release.

“Thousands of children, parents and entire families will suffer the rest of their lives as a result of this administration’s intentionally cruel family separations,” Michelle Lapointe, SPLC senior supervising attorney, said. “The government separated families with a full understanding of the extent of the unspeakable impact this would have on the victims, including vulnerable children. This administration did so not in spite of the harm it would cause, but because of it, and now the government must be held accountable. This is particularly important as we continue to receive reports of unjustified and illegal separations of families at the border, well after the practice supposedly ended.”

The parents, who are ultimately responsible for endangering their children by making the journey to the U.S. border, are reportedly dealing with guilt and anxiety. The filings claim the fathers “were deported without their children and had to wait months to be reunited. All three children continue to suffer from nightmares, separation anxiety, and behavioral problems. Their fathers and extended families also continue to suffer.”

In addition to the claims filed Thursday, the SPLC and Covington & Burling have pending complaints for two other fathers filed in April.

Thursday’s claims seek $3 million for each person, for a total of $6 million for each separated family, the SPLC told CNN. The fathers can go on to sue the government in federal court if there is no response to the claims within six months.

“The damage done to these fathers, their children and their entire families can never be undone,” Jay Carey, a partner at the law firm, said. “But, those responsible for their suffering can and must be held responsible, and a message must be sent — especially to this administration — that such cruelty is unconscionable and will not be tolerated.”

Reaction to the lawsuit and the claims made were swift on social media, where many called out the parents for putting their children in harm’s way and for frivolous lawsuits brought by those not even in the U.S.


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