U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden of Connecticut ruled Friday that the Trump administration’s separation of a 9-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl who were physically taken from their parents against their will at the border was unconstitutional—and mandated that a solution be proposed to cater to the emotional harm caused by the Trump administration’s border policies.
In his decision, Bolden declared that the government violated the right to due process for both children. “The government failed to provide the children with notice or a hearing,” he stated, “instead taking their parents, while distracting the children.” Bolden also issued an order in his ruling to provide both children with the necessary resources to deal with the emotional harm of the Trump administration’s disastrous and xenophobic immigration policies.
Dr. Andrés Martin, a professor of child psychiatry at the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the children’s Psychiatric Inpatient Service at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, interviewed the children earlier this month and diagnosed them with, among other things, severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to the Hartford Courant, both families initially came to the United States to escape gang violence in South America. The boy left Honduras after both of his grandparents were murdered; he was forced to watch his grandmother as she was thrown into a river after having her throat slit. Martin observed that the girl in question was “’tearful, avoidant and has a blunted and flat affect;'” she discovered her mother had been removed from a detention facility housing them both after she was offered a shower.
This week, the parents of both children had a scheduled hearing at which they and government officials will be required to craft a solution for their resulting PTSD. In the meantime, the two minors are under the care of Noank Community Support Services, a social service group based in Connecticut.
In a Saturday statement to the Associated Press, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that the ruling could have amazing repercussions nationwide if it “paves the way for more humane and constitutionally acceptable treatment of these children.” The administration is currently separating around 60 children from their parents at the border on a daily basis, perpetuating a humanitarian crisis that has resulted in the incarceration of thousands of unaccompanied minors in overcrowded detention centers and tent cities across the country. Officials have also failed to meet a previous reunification deadline for children under five mandated by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw.
“I’m excited beyond words,” Blumenthal added, “that the federal judiciary and our Constitution State are stopping this horrendous and inhumane injustice of separating children from their families.”