Families separated at the border delay new assessments

WASHINGTON – Parents suing after being separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border are opposing a Justice Department effort to demand additional psychological evaluations to measure how much U.S. policy has traumatized them, according to reports court documents.

The effect of Trump-era politics that have been decried as inhumane by political and religious leaders around the world has been exceptionally well documented, and it is unfair to demand that parents undergo another round of testing now, lawyers say in court documents filed Thursday.

A woman testified to sobbing as her 7-year-old daughter was taken from her for what turned out to be more than two months, according to court documents. Thousands of children have been separated from their parents; some have still not been reunited.

Migrants seeking compensation have already undergone further assessments, but the Justice Department said last month that testing by a government-appointed expert was needed because the parents allege permanent mental and emotional harm.

Psychological assessments from both sides are common in emotional harm claims, but parents’ lawyers say the government has dragged out the process, adding that the tests would be emotionally and logistically charged, including leaving work and leaving work. find childcare with low wages.

The effects of family separations have been explored extensively, including by government investigators who found that children separated from their parents showed more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress symptoms. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said during his campaign that the policies were “an outrage, a moral failure and a stain on our national character.”

Former President Donald Trump ended the practice in June 2018 amid widespread condemnation, just days before a judge ordered the program terminated in response to a lawsuit filed by American Civil Liberties. Union.

Parents studied by Physicians for Human Rights, a nonprofit medical collective that works to document human rights abuses, exhibited suicidal thoughts and suffered from a range of problems, including nightmares, depression, anxiety, panic, worry and sleep disturbances.

The Department of Justice does not require children to be reassessed now, but reserves the right to do so later if necessary. A judge will eventually decide, perhaps in a few weeks, whether to require the new assessments.

The requests came in two files filed by 11 families. Nearly two dozen similar cases are pending in other courts, and some have already undergone government-mandated psychiatric evaluations. In a South Florida case, a father and child agreed to the same exam, an exam that federal prosecutors say is well within the bounds of what is considered appropriate.

There is a separate legal effort to reunite other families, and there are still hundreds who have not been reunited. The Biden administration formed a task force that brought together about 600 families.

The two sides had negotiated a settlement, but the talks broke down after an initial proposal of $450,000 per person was reported and heavily criticized by Republicans.

Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be imprisoned with family members, families have been separated and children have been taken into custody by health and social services, which deal with unaccompanied children at the border . No system has been created to reunite children with their families.

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