HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for separating families at the border with Mexico.
“The Trump Administration’s family separation policy — which it made a choice to enact — violates our Constitution, is inconsistent with U.S. asylum laws, and is fundamentally at odds with our core principles and values,” said Shapiro in a press release.“The executive order President Trump signed last week has not remedied the problem, and I’m taking legal action to stop this abhorrent policy. I won’t allow the Administration to use children as leverage to make up for Washington’s failure.”
The lawsuit says the controversial policy violates numerous constitutional and statutory claims, including the violation of the fundamental due process rights which allow parents to be together with their children.
The suit, filed in the U.S District Court for the Western District of Washington, was filed by a coalition of 17 Attorneys General which included Shapiro.
Children are being housed by the federal government throughout the country as officials work to reunify them with their parents. In Pennsylvania, 50 children are being housed in the Pittsburgh area. The children range in age from 4 to 17, according to Shapiro’s office. More are reportedly being housed in the Lehigh Valley.
“The federal government is treating children like prisoners; detaining them behind chain-link cage fencing, and cutting them off from communication with their parents. This is unconscionable treatment,” said Shapiro.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families at the U.S. border over a recent six-week period, according to the Associated Press.
It’s the result of a “zero tolerance” policy announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in early April, which has Homeland Security referring all cases of illegal border crossing for prosecution.