WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration wants parents of children separated at the US-Mexico border to undergo a second round of psychological evaluations to assess how traumatized they are by Trump-era policies. court documents show.
The request comes from lawsuits brought by migrants seeking compensation from the government after thousands of children were taken from their parents under a policy that political and religious leaders around the world say is inhumane. Negotiations with lawyers and the government broke down at the end of last year.
The lawyers of the Ministry of Justice also reserve the right to an examination by a psychologist of children living apart. Assessments are routine for emotional harm claims, but these cases are unusual because the government’s role in traumatizing parents and children through a separation is well documented. President Biden called Trump’s family separation a crime and a stain on the nation’s morals, but now his administration is hiring doctors to try to argue that families haven’t suffered as much,” said Lee Gelernt, an assistant professor at the University’s Immigrant Rights Project. ACLU attorney for immigrant plaintiffs seeking redress.
Government lawyers argued that migrants “argue that their mental and emotional disabilities are permanent and permanent” and that their disabilities are directly related to government policies. They say the government should be able to audit them.
Applications came from 11 families in two cases. Nearly two dozen similar cases are pending in other courts, and some have already been submitted for government-requested psychiatric evaluations.
But the parents have already gone through hours of stories explaining in detail what happened. Government researchers said children separated from their parents showed more fear, rejection, and post-traumatic stress symptoms than children who were not separated.
Some children believed that their parents had abandoned them or killed them. According to a 2019 report from the Office of Health and Human Services, emotional trauma has caused physical symptoms such as chest pain or heartache for some.
The parents surveyed by Physicians for Human Rights, a non-profit organization that documents human rights, showed suicidal thoughts and suffered from a range of problems, including nightmares, depression, anxiety, panic, worry, and sleep disturbances.
Biden administration officials denounced Trump-era policies. During his presidential campaign, Democrat Biden said the policy was an outrage, a moral failure, and a stain on our national character. Attorneys for the Justice Department acknowledged in court documents that the parents have already undergone multiple mental health evaluations, but say an expert in adult psychology felt a second opinion was necessary, according to court documents.
“It is standard practice for an opposing party’s expert to examine plaintiffs who allege serious emotional harm,” federal attorneys wrote. They point to a similar case from South Florida in which a father and child agreed to the same test and say it was deemed a “good” fit.
Federal lawyers wrote that the investigation would last approximately eight hours, four hours for clinical interviews, and four hours for emotional and trauma testing. It would not be invasive and would take place at an agreed-upon time and place. Preliminary evaluations were carried out by experts selected by senior lawyers.
The two sides negotiated a settlement, but Biden then said that the families of the separated children deserved some form of compensation. An early proposal to pay $
50,000 per person was reported and heavily criticized by Republicans. Asked about the proposed number, Biden said, “It’s not going to happen.” discussions ended soon after. During the settlement negotiations, they also discussed the granting of legal residence permits to families in the United States and the provision of counseling services.
There is a separate legal effort to reunite other families, and there are still hundreds that have not been reunited. The Biden administration formed a reunification task force that reunited about 600 families.
Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught illegally crossing the border would be charged with illegal entry. Because children cannot be detained together with family members, the families were separated and the children were taken into the care of the Health and Humanitarian Service, which takes care of unaccompanied children at the border. A system for reunification with children and families has not been established.
government guards say Trump administration leaders underestimated how difficult it would be to implement the policy on the ground and failed to inform local prosecutors and others that the children would be separated. They also didn’t know the children would be separated for more than a few hours, and when it was discovered, they pushed on, the watchdogs said.
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