Three illegal immigrants filed a lawsuit against Trump administration and the policy that penalized and separated them from their children when they crossed the border at non-points-of-entry into the U.S.
As Politico reports, the trio are from Central America and are currently in a Texas detention center.
The legal action could be the first of its kind and seeks to upend an immigration policy that treats asylum seekers who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border as criminals.
Despite President Donald Trump’s retreat on the policy and his signature on an executive order that seeks to stop the forced separation of migrant children from their parents, the zero-tolerance policy towards illegals remains in effect.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, whose clients include the three illegals, is insisting that the separation policy amounts to punishment, something the lawyers say is contrary to the Constitution and a violation of Fifth Amendment’s guarantee to due process.
The Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has also filed a lawsuit against the separation policy, saying it is right for families to stay together. The ACLU challenge, however, does not directly confront the “zero tolerance” element. The new suit, if successful, would deny the U.S. government the latitude to declare illegal border crossing as a criminal act.
“The question we raise in our lawsuit is, the fact that you are going to force a family to undergo a one-to-five day criminal prosecution does not give you the right to indefinitely take their children away from them and fly them away thousands of miles away,” stated Texas RioGrande Legal aid lawyer Jerome Wesevich. “What could possibly be the reason for that except to punish them?”