New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has added fodder to the fire President Donald Trump has come under for his administration's “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their families as they cross the Mexican border, vowing to file a lawsuit over the policy.
On Tuesday, Cuomo announced that the state is planning to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated at the border, unless the policy is not rescinded in the next two weeks.
"The Trump Administration's policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy," Cuomo said. "We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all."
Cuomo noted that they know of more than 70 children who are staying in federal shelters in New York State, with more expected to come, as other facilities are contacted. In response, Cuomo said he is directing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services to commence legal action against the federal government's "Separation of Families" policy.
“Following the callous and inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the border, New York is suing to protect the health and well-being of children being held at least 10 different facilities across the state and at others throughout the nation.”
According to Cuomo, New York plans to sue the federal government for “violating the constitutional rights of children and families, violating the terms of the Flores Settlement, callous policies based on outrageous government conduct doctrine and on behalf of the Liberty Defense Project.”
“As everyone knows, the federal government, under the Department of Justice, changed their policy on April 7 to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy where they are now separating children at the border and I believe, personally, that the act is inhumane, it's extortive, it's un-American,” Cuomo added. “Ironically, it's opposed to the family value that the Republican party has always espoused. I believe it's politically motivated and they're being used, the children are being used, basically as a bargaining chip with Congress to get what the administration wants.
“I've never seen children being used as a bargaining chip in this kind of negotiation. The estimate is that 2,000 children are being held. Some of those children are being held in facilities in the State of New York. These are private facilities that provide services to children and the federal government has contracted with a number of facilities in New York and placed children in those facilities.
“So politics aside, philosophy aside, children have legal rights. Parents have legal rights. That's established firmly in the federal and state constitutions and in case law. They have fundamental rights. They apply whether they're documented, undocumented, short, tall, Mexican, seeking asylum, or not seeking asylum. Those fundamental rights apply and we believe they've been violated.”
Audio of Cuomo's announcement can be found here .
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