WNPR

Connecticut Immigration Advocates Fear Deadline For Family Reunification Will Be Ignored

Jul 23, 2018

Local advocates for migrant children separated from their parents at the United States border said Monday that they don’t believe the Trump administration will meet a court-ordered deadline to bring the families together. The deadline imposed by a U.S. district court in California is July 26.

“It’s very important that people in Connecticut continue to stay activated and make clear that families need to be, not only united, but also, free,” said David McGuire, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut. “There is no place for a family in a detention facility in the United States. There are much more humane and effective ways to make sure people do go through the proper immigration channels.”

There was a strong consensus among the advocates that the zero-tolerance policy that enforced separation last April is having lasting effects on the migrant population—particularly on the children.

Dr. Jennifer McQuaid, a clinical psychologist at Yale, said she’s worked with kids that have come with their families to the United States seeking asylum. McQuaid believes the children are likely having trouble coping with the memories of turmoil in the countries they left behind, along with the reality of the current situation--and doing it without the support of their parents.

“Not only—I think—are they probably now experiencing PTSD, anxiety, and depression, but they likely have sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, weight loss, [and] general trouble managing their emotions,” McQuaid said.

Senator Richard Blumenthal said that so far only 20 percent of children have been reunited with their families. And if the administration misses the deadline, he’ll call for congressional hearings to hold the administration accountable.