Eight immigrant families separated under the Trump administration's immigration policies filed claims Monday for millions of dollars in damages for what a lawyer called “inexplicable cruelty” that left lasting damage, according to the Associated Press.
The claims detail psychological after-effects of the family separations, including a 7-year-old girl who will not sleep without her mother and a 6-year-old boy who is reluctant to eat.
Stanton Jones, a lawyer for the families, said his clients were entitled to monetary damages because of the government’s “inexplicable cruelty.”
“The government was harming children intentionally to try to advance what it viewed as a policy objective,” Jones said, according to AP. “It’s heinous and immoral, but it’s also a civil wrong for which the law provides a claim for relief.”
The families submitted the claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act to the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services (HHS).
A spokesperson for HHS told The Hill that they are not involved in apprehension or detention because they do not enforce immigration laws. They declined to comment on the specific claims filed with the department.
The Trump administration enforced a "zero tolerance" policy last year in an attempt to curb illegal immigration.
As a result of the policy several children were separated from their parents. An estimated 2,000 families were separated.
Trump eventually retreated from the practice after intense bipartisan criticism.
—Updated Tuesday at 10:50 a.m.