In U.S. Court And In Mexico City, Pushback Against Family Border Separations

By Jorge Valencia, Matthew Casey
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 4:04pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 4:58pm
Foreign Relations Ministry, Mexico
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray (center) condemned the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 families on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Human rights activists in the U.S. and government officials in Mexico are condemning and looking for ways to stop the Trump administration’s practice of separating undocumented immigrant families at the border.

In San Diego, the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to block the government from separating families in cases in which the adult does not face prosecution. The ACLU, in cases in which the parents are being charged, is asking the judge to force the government to reunite parents with their children after they leave jail.

It’s unclear when the judge will issue a ruling on the case, which was argued May 4, according to Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project.

In Mexico City, the government is coordinating Mexican officials across the U.S. to meet with separated children and parents. One case involves a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who’s being held with her brother, also 10, at a facility in McAllen, Texas, according to Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray.

The girl’s mother is being held about 50 miles away in Brownsville, Texas, and the father is a resident of the U.S., Videgaray said.

Mexican officials are planning to coordinate efforts with counterparts from the three countries where a majority of families originate from: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Videgaray said. Of roughly 2,000 reported cases of separated families, only 21 are from Mexico.

Mexico has a moral and legal obligation to aid those three countries, Videgaray said, citing a section of the Mexican constitution that mandates the defense of human rights.

“The Mexican government can’t be indifferent to a situation of this nature, even if the children aren’t Mexican,” Videgaray said.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story described the girl as having autism. This story has been corrected to report that she has Down syndrome. 

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