The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seventeen states, including New York and California, sued the Trump administration Tuesday to force it to reunite the thousands of immigrant children and parents it separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the legal and political pressure on the White House to reconnect families more quickly escalated.
The states, all led by Democratic attorneys general, joined Washington, D.C., in filing the lawsuit in federal court in Seattle, arguing that they are being forced to shoulder increased child welfare, education and social services costs.
“The administration’s practice of separating families is cruel, plain and simple,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. “Every day, it seems like the administration is issuing new, contradictory policies and relying on new, contradictory justifications. But we can’t forget: The lives of real people hang in the balance.”
Separately, immigration-rights activists asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to order that parents be released and immediately reunited with their children.
In a speech before the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration for taking a hard-line stand on illegal immigration and said the voters elected U.S. President Donald Trump to do just that.
“This is the Trump era,” he said. “We are enforcing our laws again. We know whose side we are on — so does this group — and we’re on the side of police, and we’re on the side of the public safety of the American people.”
More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters — hundreds of miles away, in some cases — under a now-abandoned policy toward families caught illegally entering the United States.
Amid an international outcry, Trump last week issued an executive order to stop the separation of families and said parents and children will instead be detained together. But precious few families have been reunited, and the Trump administration has disclosed next to nothing on how the process will be carried out or how long it will take.Speech