Migrant families who were separated at the U.S.–Mexico border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy are suing the Trump administration to cover the costs of their mental health treatment, according to a new federal class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed this week by a group of lawyers in federal court, argues that migrant children and their families suffered trauma that was "life altering" and that will "continue to affect their mental and emotional well-being for years to come" as a result of being separated, CNN reported.
The lawsuit also seeks unspecified financial compensation for the families affected by the now-reversed policy.
Parents who were separated from their children earlier this year under the Trump administration's policy say they are suffering deep emotional wounds as a result of the separations, ABC News reported. Families say they want the Trump administration to remedy the situation by paying for their mental health treatment.
Jenifer Wolf Williams, a mental health professional who is among thousands of other professionals offering free services to help once-separated families, told ABC that children could become more prone to engaging in self-destructive behavior later in their lives if not treated properly.
The report comes weeks after the Trump administration faced months of building pressure for its zero tolerance policy of separating migrant families at the southern border. Thousands of families were separated as a result of the policy, drawing sharp bipartisan backlash and sparking national protests.
Trump ended the policy with an executive order in June, though many separated families still have not been reunited. As of last week, nearly 500 children were still in government-run shelters without their parents.
The Trump administration on Thursday said it is seeking to indefinitely jail migrant children along with their families. The policy, months in the making, would would overturn 20 years of protections for immigrant children.