Dem lawmaker: ICE agents lied to migrant child, said mother ‘abandoned’ her
A congresswoman from the state of Washington says that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials lied to a young migrant girl separated from her mother, telling the child she had been “abandoned” by her parents and poisoning the girl’s relationship with her mother.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said Thursday that the girl believed federal agents who told her that her mother had abandoned her and that she would live in shelters until she was 18, causing the girl to reject her own mother upon reunification.
“A mom told us her relationship with her 8yo daughter would never be the same. Officials lied to the daughter, saying her mom abandoned her. They said she’d live in a shelter until she was 18. When they reunited, the daughter believed that and wanted nothing to do with her mom,” Jayapal tweeted.
A mom told us her relationship with her 8yo daughter would never be the same. Officials lied to the daughter, saying her mom abandoned her. They said she’d live in a shelter until she was 18. When they reunited, the daughter believed that and wanted nothing to do with her mom.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 26, 2018
Jayapal’s office told The Hill in an email that the mother was one of several migrants who spoke to Democratic lawmakers during a visit last month to a family detention center in Texas.
“The damage and cruelty the administration is purposely inflicting on families is irreversible. Make no mistake, the trauma and pain forced upon this child and thousands more is a direct result of the President’s zero tolerance zero humanity policy,” Jayapal said in a statement.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman stated that the agency could not comment without knowing the specifics of the case.
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy resulted in thousands of children being detained separately from their parents while the adults faced prosecution for illegally entering the U.S.
President Trump halted the process of separating families last month and a court has ordered the administration to reunite the families, though the government is still pursuing the zero-tolerance policy on illegal entry.
The detainment of some children as young as toddlers has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, who have called the policy inhumane.
– Updated: 9:50 a.m.