Mothers Separated From Children at Border Suing U.S. Gov. for $3 Million Each for ‘Emotional Distress’

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Migrant children who have been separated from their families can be seen in tents at a detention center in Homestead, Florida on June 28, 2019. (Credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

Migrant children who have been separated from their families can be seen in tents at a detention center in Homestead, Florida on June 28, 2019. (Credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Like thousands of Central American parents seeking asylum in the United States, Patricia panicked when, after she and her son crossed the Rio Grande into Texas last year, U.S. border agents took the boy away. For weeks, she was crushed by fears that then-6-year-old Alessandro was lost forever.

Though they were eventually reunited, Patricia isn’t ready to put the past behind her. She wants the U.S. government to pay for her family’s ordeal, and she has become part of a novel legal strategy to achieve that goal.

“Every moment that I think about it makes me cry,” said Patricia, who asked that she and her son be identified only by their middle names because she fears retaliation. “To have us separated was an injustice. Everybody has the right to want a better life.”

Patricia and her lawyer, Maggy Krell, a former California deputy attorney general who specialized in human trafficking, are set to argue that the U.S. government intended to inflict emotional distress on families by separating them. They plan to make that assertion under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a narrow law that allows individuals to sue the U.S. government for negligence and misconduct. About a dozen other immigrant parents with experiences like Patricia’s are in the process of making similar claims, which will likely end up in courts.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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