Federal judge rules CT child separations unconstitutional

BRIDGEPORT -- U.S. District Court Judge Victor Bolden ruled that the Trump administration violated the federal rights of two immigrant children being detained in Connecticut when it separated the children from their parents at the Southern U.S. border.

“We’re talking about a 9-year-old boy who was separated from his father while he was sleeping, and a 14-year-old girl separated from her family when she’s told that she’s being taken away to take a shower,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

As part of his ruling Friday, Bolden ordered the children’s parents be brought to court on July 18th as authorities discuss a plan to address the children’s post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medical experts testified that both children fled gang violence in Central America and developed PTSD as a result of being separated from their parents.

“For these kids who are facing so much adversity, not having their parents around makes them completely vulnerable,” said Dr. Andres Martin, who is the Director of Medicine at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.

Court documents show the children were forcibly taken from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border and are being cared for by Noank Community Support Services, which is based in Groton.

Bronin has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy against undocumented immigrants.

“I’m glad that courts are now finding that these separations are also unconstitutional and recognizing the profound harm that’s being done to parents and to children,” Bronin said.

In a statement, Governor Dannel Malloy said, “This ruling is a step in the right direction to ensuring that the two children who are currently located in Connecticut receive the services they need…”

In a separate statement, Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “President Trump’s zero tolerance policy has wreaked havoc on our nation, and we must continue to fight for the families who have been ripped apart by our government.”

“They are children who have been traumatized and wronged by government action,” said Josh Perry who is the Deputy Director of Connecticut Legal Services. “They’re children who are entitled to swift release and reunification with their parents.”

Last week, Bolden expressed concerns about the precedent instant reunification would set for 2,000 other separated children.

He also did not want to undermine a recent California court ruling ordering all separated children be reunited with their parents July 26.

On Friday, Bolden denied a request to immediately reunite the two children being held in Connecticut with their parents and left the matter up to another court to rule on.

As part of his ruling, the judge also ordered daily video conferences between the children and their parents.

Read the full ruling here and the lawsuits here and here.