Oregon Joins Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration Family Separation Policy

June 26, 2018
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Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today joined a coalition of 17 Attorneys General in a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s policy of forced family separation on the U.S./Mexico border. The lawsuit was filed today » in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

“This cruel policy has already had a horrendous impact in Oregon, as set forth in our lawsuit. The thousands of children who have been ripped away from their parents at the border arrived in the U.S already traumatized by incidents in their home countries. That is why their parents have bravely brought them here to seek asylum—not to further traumatize them, as our government is doing. It’s essential we reunite these children with their families without further delay,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

The lawsuit filed today alleges the Administration has violated the constitutional due process rights of the parents and children by separating them as a matter of course and without any finding that the parent poses a threat to the children. The policy is also irrationally discriminatory, in violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, because it targets only people crossing the U.S. southern border, and not anyone crossing the Northern border or entering the United States elsewhere. The lawsuit also argues that the Administration has violated U.S. asylum laws by turning people away at ports of entry.

According to the complaint, in Oregon, there are 123 immigrant men detained at the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon. At least six are fathers, from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, who have been separated from their children. Another detainee was separated from his 18-month-old toddler. A different detainee reports that his wife is detained in San Antonio, Texas, and he does not know the whereabouts of their 4-year-old child. In Oregon, there are two children who witnessed their mother being taken away in chains. At least three other children currently have been separated from their parents at the border.

On Friday, Oregon also filed an amicus brief with 17 states supporting litigation to stop the Trump Administration’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) terminations for foreign nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras—the countries that make up the majority of TSP holders. According to the TPS amicus brief, the Department of Homeland Security’s termination of TPS would strip these individuals of legal authorization to work in the United States and could result in their deportation to countries that are unsafe. Many TSP holders have family and children in the United States, who would also suffer irreversible harm.