As the Trump administration sends mixed news about resuming the separation of families at the US-Mexico border, five recent legal claims provide new insights into the trauma that parents and children experienced in Arizona last year.
Two weeks after leaving Guatemala in May 2018, a father and his seven-year-old son crossed the Arizona-Mexico border near San Luis and saw a light in the distance. The father thought it was a border guard station, and spent hours walking toward the light, carrying his exhausted son in his arms.
They came to the United States after their home in the mountains of Guatemala was burned down in an attempt to kill the family. They are part of the indigenous Q & # 39; anjob'al tribe and the father is an environmental activist. They also had to find a way to regularly examine the boy after heart surgery.
The father finally stopped around 2am and built a campfire, partly for heat and partly to put on nearby Border Patrol agents.
When an agent arrived, he called them "stupid beasts" in Spanish, so the claim was an early indication of the torments to which father and son were exposed. They were soon separated after the agent arrested them. When they were reunited 70 days later, the father stayed behind and tried to convince his son that everything had been a "bad dream".
According to a lawsuit filed on April 4 with federal authorities involved in the separation of more than 2,700 children from their parents, they plan to sue the federal government for $ 3 million for willful harm.
The Trump government ended its widespread family separation practice on June 20, although there have been 245 other separations since, according to government claims filed in a federal court filed in Southern California on February 20.
In recent months, President Trump has repeatedly stated that he wanted to resume the separation of the family, the New York Times reported on April 8, citing three unnamed high-ranking government officials.
The next day, Trump told reporters in the White House, "We're not looking for that." However, he also praised the deterrent value of separating families and said, "If you do not have it anymore, you see a lot more people coming in. They come like a picnic because" we're going to Disneyland. "
Vice President Mike Pence stood at the border fence west of Nogales on Thursday, saying the president was not planning to resume family separation.
At the same time, government officials reportedly discussed a "binary election" policy that was made possible in August by a federal court in Southern California.
As part of this policy, cross-border parents, some of whom are seeking asylum, could waive one of two rights. A parent could choose to remove their child's right to be released within 20 days. The parent could also forgo his right to stay with his child. In that case, the child would be released to the Refugee Refugee Agency.
"The binary choice is different. That's up to the parents, "said an unnamed senior official in a Wednesday report to Politico. "That means we would not separate anyone. The mother makes this decision. "
While the Trump government is considering how to deal with tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central American countries, at least five Guatemalan parents separated from their children in Arizona have claimed rights from the federal authorities since February. If federal officials do not respond within six months, the parents could possibly sue the government in Arizona federal court.
Recent allegations mark a new phase in the litigation over family divisions. Last year, the parents sued for reuniting with their children, mainly through a sequential class action lawsuit in Southern California. Now parents ask to be compensated for the suffering they and their children suffer.
Individual parents filed lawsuits in Washington last year demanding reunification with their children. A widely quoted complaint, including the April 4 allegations, was based on the separation of a Guatemalan woman and her two sons before appearing before the Tucson Supreme Court.
In her case, a judge ordered that she be reunited with her children in July of last year. The federal laws state that the deportation of immigration through the unlimited separation of families after the transfer of parents into custody is a mandatory or legitimate aim of the government.
The 7-year-old boy, who crossed the border with his father near San Luis, began screaming as an agent entered the cell in prison.
He watched a man refuse to let agents take his son. The agent grabbed the man by the neck and pushed him back into the cell. He violently seized his son and took him away, according to the February 4 claim filed by Covington and Burling, a law firm in Washington, DC, and the Southern Center for Poverty Alleviation.
As other children were taken out of the cell, the seven-year-old boy's father, both of whom were identified by their initials in the affirmation, trained the boy not to defend himself. If he did, he could make the wounds worse by his heart surgery.
When it was time for agents to take the boy with them, "he held his father firmly in his hand." The agents told the father to let his son go, and more agents were approaching, the statement said. The agents "tore their hands" and the father saw "incredible fear on his son's face, which he will never forget."
The boy called, "Daddy, why do you let me take you?"
The following week, the father was taken to detention centers, including one where the smell was so bad that "people often fainted and an agent would come to take them," the claim says.
About two months after his son's capture, immigration officers told him he could be deported with his son or on his own. He said he wanted to be with his son.
After his brother and wife made reports to pick them up in a Georgia prison, he learned what had happened to his son since they were separated.
The boy was taken to New York, where he spent his time in a public institution and spent his nights in a nursing home with several other children.
"On several occasions other children climbed in at night (the boy's bed) and touched (the boy) the penis, the butt and the chest," the report said. The boy told the adult in the nursing home, but "the sexual abuse continued".
The boy was rated trauma and scored 36 points. Clinical trauma is defined as having at least 15 points.
The boy reported the abuse to a counselor who reported him to the New York City police. However, the investigation was stopped when the boy was sent to a detention center in Texas in late July.
The police said that the contractor who runs the foster care program "does not have any transfer information to contact the child or his father," according to the claim.
Health and Human Services, which looks after children who were separated from their parents after border crossings, said in a statement that their officials could not comment on pending litigation. The Agency has policies to "protect the privacy, safety and well-being" of children in their care.
A customs and border protection spokesman said the agency did not comment on pending litigation.
Meanwhile, the boy's father did not know why his son had been taken away until the Spanish news channel Univision reported a policy called "Zero Tolerance" in early July. He and other prisoners crowded around the TV in captivity and saw that a judge ordered the government to bring children together with their parents.
A few weeks later, the officers and about 30 fathers took him to a room and took off their chains. The door opened and children entered one after the other. Eventually, he spotted his son, "looking anxiously around the room, crying."
The boy did not recognize his father at first, but finally jumped into his arms. After the boy held himself for several minutes, he said, "Daddy, we have to go now so they will not bring us anymore."
Since his detention, the boy has evolved from "open-minded, friendly, and trusting" to adults, and is now too "cocky" and has "tantrums for no apparent reason." He often has nightmares and keeps telling a story about when he got lost in a train and another kid found him and taught him how to take a deep breath when you're scared.
Because of the boy's fear of adults in uniform, his father rarely brings him to his appointments and his cardiologist, where he is in second grade.
Like a funeral
Half a dozen crying children stood on one side of the room, their parents standing on the other side. The agents then led the children out of the room in a row when their parents "felt impotent to do something".
The father of one of the children described the way back to the cell as "like a funeral," while adult men and women "cried openly and uncontrollably," as another February 4 request for $ 3 million from the same groups was submitted.
A father and his daughter (5) fled violence and blackmail in Guatemala. They were arrested on 8 May 2018 along with a group of migrants and their children near San Luis.
After his daughter was taken, the father and several others were taken to federal court and he was sentenced to a time penalty. He was transferred to a prison in Florence and then to Georgia.
He learned that his daughter was in New York, but he had no money to call her. He began working as a janitor in the detention center, earning about two dollars a day.
On May 31, he spoke with his daughter for the first time. They were separated for another seven weeks.
After the girl was taken out of the room in the detention center, she made her first plane flight of her life and landed on May 11 in New York.
While in nursing homes in New York, a boy living in the same house "inappropriately touched his chest" and later grabbed her face and tried to kiss her, the claim goes.
She was transferred to a new nursing home, where the foster mother used insulting words in Spanish that made the girl uncomfortable. At times she was detained in a room for punishment.
On July 21, she was reunited with her father in Texas. They moved to Massachusetts while the father filed for asylum.
The girl "cries now often for no apparent reason" and "inexplicably gets angry." She has nightmares because she is separated from her father and imprisoned.
In addition to the motions filed on April 4, other lawyers and law firms with a migrant background filed three applications on February 11 for Arizona border crossings.
Each claim demanded $ 3 million from the government. The petitions were submitted by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Justice Center, the law firm Arnold and Porter in Washington, D.C., and the law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg and Lin in Philadelphia.
The asylum official said they were not in time and finished the interview before Leticia, 25, could explain that she and her five-year-old daughter had fled from members of the gang who had attacked Leticia twice and threatened to kill them both claims ,
The mother and daughter were arrested on May 11 on the Arizona-Mexico border. The next day, Leticia's daughter was taken to a detention center. To calm her daughter, Leticia said to her: "Honey, it'll be alright, you'll just play."
The officers told Leticia that they needed to hurry because a plane was waiting for the children, which was a shock to Leticia. Until that moment she had assumed that her daughter would be taken to a nearby facility.
Soon after, an officer returned to the cell where Leticia was being held and said her daughter would only let her bathe her mother.
"Leticia went to the shower, washed her daughter, gave her soft juice and said goodbye," the statement says. She did not see her daughter for four months.
Leticia was sent to Santa Cruz County Prison for two weeks and then transferred to a detention center in Nevada. Weeks later, her brother in Florida found her daughter in a nursing home in New York and Leticia talked to her on the phone.
Although she was not charged with a criminal offense, Leticia was in a detention center where women were prosecuted. She was "horrified and treated hard," the claim goes.
At one meal, an inmate pushed her, causing her to drop her tray. A prison guard said she would be hurt if she dropped her tray again. "
After her immigration lawyer visited her, she raided a prison guard who ransacked Leticia and asked her to strip, bend, and cough all her clothes, including her underwear. Leticia was humiliated, "says the statement.
In September, Leticia was reunited with her daughter in a Texas detention center. She spoke with another asylum official who stated that her fear of returning to Guatemala was credible. Leticia and her daughter were released from custody in November.
Even when Elena, 35, was reunited with her 13-year-old son, she regularly vomited because of the fear of separation when her son left her to attend a Texas detention center.
They fled a gang in Guatemala after telling the police that the gang had attacked another woman in early 2018. The gang members threatened Elena and said they would kill her son if he did not join the gang.
They fled Guatemala and were arrested on May 8 on the Arizona-Mexico border, according to a February 11 allegation. They were taken to a detention center and on the second day, officials began removing children from the center.
"A few times children were brought to showers and then dressed in identical blue uniforms and black shoes," it says in the statement. "The children were told to get up to go."
Her son was taken to a nursing home in New York and taken to a prison in Eloy. They have not seen each other for 77 days. Elena is seeking asylum while living in Massachusetts.
The 24-year-old mother of a 7-year-old girl was never charged when she approached the port of entry of San Luis on May 16, 2018. Nevertheless, they were separated for more than two months.
They fled Guatemala to flee from their mother's partner, a member of the Guatemalan military who "regularly abused both" and refused to end the relationship, the statement said.
Mother and daughter were separated the day after their imprisonment. They were reunited in July and spent another four months in Texas before being released in November.
As their claims move through the legal system and debate the Trump administration's dealings with families crossing the border, large groups of families traveling together are forwarding to Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona.
Since his imprisonment, the boy has become "outgoing, friendly"
and trust of adults "so far" hyper-vigilant "
and with "tantrums for no apparent reason." Legal claim, in which a Guatemalan father and a seven-year-old son were involved, separated at the border