Cuomo: State To Sue Feds Over Child Separation Policy
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state will sue the federal government over the Trump administration's policy of separating families accused of crossing the U.S. border illegally, a practice that violates the constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
"We believe this practice is illegal," the Democrat said in a conference call with reporters. Cuomo said that he expects the lawsuit to be filed within two weeks in a court yet to be determined.
At least 70 children who were separated from their parents are currently being housed in New York facilities that have contracts with the federal government, Cuomo said. Most of the facilities are in the New York City area, including three in the Bronx, he said.
The governor, a frequent critic of Republican President Donald Trump's policies, said three state agencies will be part of the lawsuit: the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services.
The lawsuit will claim the children were taken from their parents without due process under federal and state laws, Cuomo said, adding that the Trump administration's policy of separating families is "inhumane."
"Politics aside, philosophy aside, children have legal rights. Parents have legal rights," said Cuomo, who is considered a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020.
He said the state's case will be built around legal theories regarding the constitutional rights of children and parents, how unaccompanied migrant children are treated, and due process principles when the conduct of law enforcement officers is deemed outrageous.
The Trump administration says the family separations are required under the law. The policy has led to nearly 2,000 children being separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May along the U.S.-Mexico border.
During a speech Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Trump said he's requesting that Congress approve an option that will allow officials to detain children and parents together as a family unit.