A federal judge in California reportedly ruled this week that the government must provide mental health services to migrant families that have undergone trauma as a result of being separated by the Trump administration at the southern border.
The Tuesday ruling in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said the Trump administration could be held accountable for the psychological effects of its hard-line immigration policies, The New York Times reports.
In the ruling, Judge John Kronstadt said the federal government must make mental health screenings, psychological counseling and other forms of treatment available to the thousands of migrant families who have been forcibly separated over the past few years with no guarantee of when they’d be reunited.
Kronstadt noted that governments can be held liable when they put people in dangerous situations with “deliberate indifference,” adding that President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE’s zero-tolerance policy, under which those who crossed the border illegally were put in jail and criminally prosecuted, caused “severe mental trauma to parents and their children,” the Times reports.
A group of migrant families that were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the zero-tolerance policy sued the Trump administration in September of last year to cover the costs of their mental health treatment. The lawsuit argued that migrant children and their families suffered trauma that was “life-altering” and would “continue to affect their mental and emotional well-being for years to come.”
Government lawyers argued the United States isn’t responsible for the mental health effects on those affected by the policy and that there was no proof that separated migrant families suffered mentally from the practice, the Times notes.
The Trump administration ended the zero-tolerance policy, which separated nearly 3,000 children from their parents, in June 2018 after months of pressure and backlash, though many separated families had not been reunited when the policy was halted.