A Guatemalan national sued the federal government Tuesday, in what is believed to be the first legal complaint of its kind, alleging she was “forcibly” separated from her son after crossing the border in May.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Mejia-Mejia claims agents in green uniforms took her seven-year-old son Darwin after the two were held in a cell referred to as the “cooler.”
“Mejia-Mejia and her son entered the U.S. near San Luis, Arizona on approximately May 19 and turned herself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents, requesting asylum because of spousal abuse at the hands of a violently alcoholic husband who she says threatened to kill her,” reports the Daily Mail‘s David Martosko. The legal complaint names 10 officials and six federal agencies.
According to the suit, “Men dressed in green uniforms (border agents) told Ms. M. they needed to take her son and would not tell her why. “Ms. M. said ‘no’ and demanded an explanation, but they would not tell her why they needed to take her seven-year-old son, and they took him anyway.”
Mejia-Mejia, who was released June 15 from a detention facility in Eloy, Arizona, was permitted by the Justice Department to stay in the U.S.
The Guatemalan asylum-seeker was permitted into the U.S. on June 15 after being held in Eloy, Arizona.
The lawsuit details how “her son was crying and scared,” during the only telephone call Mejia-Mejia had with the 7-year-old.
The Justice Department recently instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy to curb unlawful immigration in the wake of a 300 percent increase in the of smuggling children accompanied by adults across the border.