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Detained mothers file lawsuit in LA seeking release, reunion with children

Michelle Xai, center, leads a chant as she and other demonstrators block the doors to the Metropolitan Detention Center to protest migrant family separations stemming from the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy along the border, in Los Angeles, California, June 21, 2018.
Michelle Xai, center, leads a chant as she and other demonstrators block the doors to the Metropolitan Detention Center to protest migrant family separations stemming from the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy along the border, in Los Angeles, California, June 21, 2018.
Grillot for LAist

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Three detained migrant mothers separated from their children at the border have filed a lawsuit against the federal government.

The mothers said in the suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, that they want to be reunited with their children. Their advocates also want them to have mental health services to deal what they say is the trauma of the separation.

One of the mothers is now held at an immigration facility in Irvine, California. She spoke with attorney Judy London with Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm.

“What was stunning is having discovered a woman who was absolutely devastated by the loss of contact with her daughter, and extraordinarily anxious not knowing if that child was okay,” London said. 

The woman, from Guatemala, was separated from her 16-year-old daughter after they were arrested in May, London said. The girl is being held in Arizona. London said the two had no contact for a month.

Immigration officials say they are working to reunite migrant families after President Trump reversed a policy to detain parents arrested crossing the border and separate their children. But officials have not announced a timeline for doing so.