ACLU challenges policy separating children from asylum-seeking parents

ACLU challenges policy separating children from asylum-seeking parents

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of California on Monday challenging the Trump administration’s policy of separating asylum-seeking immigrant parents from their children.

The complaint was filed on the behalf of a mother and her seven-year-old daughter from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were separated after arriving in the US to seek asylum last November. The mother and daughter have been separated for over four months [ACLU Blog], and the mother is bringing this case in hopes of being reunited with her daughter.

The complaint alleges four counts against the Trump Administration, two under the Administrative Procedure Act, one under the Asylum Statute and one for violating the Due Process Clause.

The ACLU argues that the liberty interest for parents to be with their children applies to all persons including asylum-seekers. A policy that infringes upon a liberty interest must pass a higher level of judicial scrutiny in order to be constitutional. The ACLU argues that there is no compelling governmental interest for the policy of separation. In addition, the ACLU argues that separation of parent and child without a judicial proceeding violates procedural due process. A person has the right under procedural due process to be given notice and be heard prior to the state infringing upon their rights.