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U.S. judge asked to create mental health fund for migrant children

 

A civil rights group asked a federal judge on Thursday to order the U.S. government to provide mental health counseling for the around 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents by officials at the U.S.-Mexican border.

The request by the American Civil Liberties Union follows a chaotic week for U.S. immigration officials, who failed to meet a court-ordered deadline on Tuesday for reuniting children under the age of five.

The government “must establish a fund to pay for professional mental health counseling, which will be used to treat children who are suffering from severe trauma as a result of their forcible separation from their parents,” said the ACLU in court papers filed late Thursday. The group said the cost of the fund could be determined at a future date.

The rights group brought the lawsuit that prompted U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego last month to order the government to reunite families separated at the border.

The family separation policy was instituted as part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to curtail illegal immigration. The administration ended the practice last month after widespread protests.

The government, in the same court filing on Thursday, acknowledged that it had missed a Tuesday deadline for reuniting the youngest children with their parents, but said it had now complied with the judge’s order.

However, nearly half — 46 of the 103 children under five — remain separated because of safety concerns, the deportation of their parents and other issues, according to the court document. Sabraw’s June 26 order contained exceptions for parents deemed unfit or a danger to their children.  Read More

 

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