The federal government must provide mental health services to thousands of migrant parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, a federal judge in California ruled Tuesday. The move underscores the importance of and the growing federal commitment to providing mental health treatment to those who need it.
Per the rule, those services will include targeted mental health screenings and ongoing trauma care for parents in custody of U.S. immigration, according to Law360. Additionally, the government will be required to offer “transitional” mental health services to parents out on bond, the legal outlet reported.
The decision comes after the federal government tried to argue that being reunited was enough to alleviate the trauma of separation for migrant families. Meanwhile, parents in the suit claimed the separation practice was “inflicted solely to terrify immigrant parents and children, deter other refugees from seeking asylum and extract political concessions.”
The White House fell under fire for the policy of separating families to prosecute and detain parents who were crossing the border without permission last year.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in July 2018 ending the administration’s family separation policy, which a California federal judge had previously said was likely unconstitutional.
“Ongoing mental health treatment is necessary after reunification to prevent, mitigate, and address the ongoing harm to the relationship between the parents in the proposed class and their child,” the U.S. district judge wrote in his ruling. “Absent appropriate screening and treatment, there is a substantial risk of harm to the parent-child relationship.”