The Government of President Joe Biden asked a federal court in California to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three families separated by the policy of “zero tolerance”, an action described this Thursday by lawyers for the immigrants as a “betrayal of their promises of Bell”.
In the petition, filed Wednesday night before the District Court in San Francisco, the Department of Justice requested that the lawsuit filed by three immigrant parents and their three children be dismissed, who were affected by the policy that in 2018 separated more than 5,000 children of their parents after crossing the southern border of the country.
The lawsuit seeks to hold the US Government responsible for the damage they suffered when they were forcibly separated by federal officials at the border under the policy established by the Administration of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021).
In a statement, attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) representing immigrants (Wilbur PG, Erendira CM, and Joshua GG) and their children, rated the action by the Democratic government as a “betrayal of Biden’s campaign promises,” which it said would protect these families.
They highlighted that in August 2021, one of the plaintiffs, Erendida CM, attended a meeting of the separated families with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.
“Secretary Mayorkas told us that it was his job to support us after what we suffered. I feel betrayed and deeply saddened now that they are fighting us in court. We want justice and make sure this never happens again, ”the immigrant said in a statement.
In this sense, Bree Bernwanger, an attorney for the LCCRSF, warned that “(the Government’s) actions speak louder than words, and by sending its lawyers to try to remove separated families from the court, the Biden Administration is effectively defending the Trump’s cruel and illegal family separation policy. “
For his part, attorney Christopher Sun, from the Keker, Van Nest & Peters law firm, who also represents the families, indicated that “the family separation policy was a humanitarian failure and a flagrant contradiction of US law, which we will test as let this litigation continue ”.
The Federal Court’s decision on the government’s request is expected in March.
This is the Democratic Administration’s first response to a family separation lawsuit since the Justice Department abruptly closed negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to resolve the families’ claims last December, a month after it was leaked to the media. that compensation of up to $ 450,000 was evaluated for some 940 families.
The $ 450,000 figure caused a political firestorm used by Republicans to criticize the Biden administration and its handling of immigration policy.
The Democratic Administration established a task force dedicated to the reunification of separated families, and this group has managed to reunite more than 100 families as of December, according to the latest figures released by the Government.