Judge Says Government Must Provide Mental Health Services to Separated Families

A federal court in California recently ruled that the U.S. government has to provide mental health services to migrant families who have been traumatized after being separated by authorities at the U.S/Mexico border.

On November 5th, the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles issued a ruling that would hold the Trump administration accountable for the psychological effects of its family separation policy. According to Judge John Kronstadt, the government must give separated families access to mental health screenings, psychological counseling, and other forms of treatment.

In his ruling, Judge Kronstadt stated that governments can be held liable for placing people in dangerous situations with “deliberate indifference.” Judge Kronstadt also added that Trump’s zero-tolerance policy “caused severe mental trauma to parents and their children.”

The preliminary injunction handed down by Judge Kronstadt will require the government to make arrangements to provide health screenings and psychological counseling. However, because thousands of migrants who were impacted by the zero-tolerance policy are spread across the country and many have already been deported, the process to make the required changes will be slow-moving. 

In September 2018, a group of migrant families that were separated at the border under the zero-tolerance policy sued the Trump administration, seeking compensation for the costs of their mental health treatment. According to the lawsuit, the trauma experienced by migrant children and families after being separated by authorities was “life-altering” and would “continue to affect their mental and emotional well-being for years to come.”

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, called the ruling “truly groundbreaking,” adding that it’s not something he’s ever seen “a court do before.”

Consult with a Deportation Defense Attorney

At Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A., we are committed to serving immigrant clients who need assistance with deportation and asylum cases. We applaud the latest ruling from Judge Kronstadt and hope the government takes the necessary steps to provide the crucial mental health services that separated families need to heal. We have seen firsthand the many struggles that immigrant families must endure when they are separated by authorities, which is why we are here provide each of our clients with the skilled representation they deserve.

To schedule a case consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers, call (888) 491-8770 today.