Guatemalan mother sues Trump to get back 7-year-old son

By Susan McFarland  |  June 20, 2018 at 7:32 AM
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June 20 (UPI) -- As the Trump administration grapples with pressure to change its "zero tolerance" immigration policy that separates migrant families at the border, a Guatemalan mother has filed a lawsuit to get her 7-year-old son back.

Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia said she and her son had sought asylum in the United States and crossed the border in Arizona last month. They were detained by Border Patrol, and separated two days later.

Mejia, 39, was released from custody June 15 after posting bond, but she says her son has not been returned.

The mother said she and her young son had escaped violence in Guatemala, which included death threats from her husband.

In the lawsuit, Mejia says immigration officials did not say why they took the boy and have not revealed where they are keeping him.

Mejia's marks one of the first lawsuits against the Trump administration's separation policy, which has fueled substantial outcry nationwide, and even in President Donald Trump's own party.

Tuesday, Trump met with congressional Republicans seeking a fix for the policy. So far, more than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents and many are being held in "tent cities" in the Southwest.

Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with members of Congress at the White House, where the issue will almost certainly rise again.

At least three pieces of legislation have been raised in the House and Senate that would keep migrant families together. Trump indicated Tuesday he might support one of the House bills, which were crafted by GOP lawmakers. Other Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said Trump can solve the separation issue, though, with one phone call.

Protesters in more than a dozen states are also bringing attention to what they say is a "cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he will file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump administration, saying the government is violating constitutional rights of thousands of migrant children and their parents by splitting them up at the border.

Late Tuesday, demonstrators heckled Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., over the issue.

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