Andrew Cuomo

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

Cuomo Plans To Sue Feds Over Child Separation Policy

June 19, 2018 - 6:27 pm
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WCBS 880/AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York state will sue the federal government over the Trump administration's policy of separating families accused of crossing the U.S. border illegally.
 
The Democrat said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that he expects the lawsuit to be filed within two weeks.
 
Cuomo said at least 70 children who were separated from their parents are currently being housed in New York facilities that have contracts with the federal government. Most of the facilities are in the New York City area.

 

Cuomo says the Trump administration's policy of separating families is "inhumane, it's extortive, it's un-American."

"Ironically it's opposed to the family values that the Republican Party has always espoused," Cuomo said.
 
The governor says the lawsuit will claim the children were taken from their parents without due process under federal and state laws.

Cuomo said the policy is a violation of constitutional rights of children and families. He points to the 1997 Flores settlement which prioritizes the principal of family unity. The governor said the policy is about legality just as much as it is about morality.

"There's been a lot of talk about the morality of this practice but we also believe that this practice is illegal," Cuomo said.

The Trump administration says the family separations are required under the law.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who was in upstate New York on Tuesday, Cuomo referenced Pence's grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. In the letter Cuomo says that America's openness and tolerance is under seige.

Senate Republicans got to work Thursday, meeting with President Donald Trump and proposing a humane, safe and secure family facility where parents and children would be grouped together. 

Meanwhile in Queens,  Congressman Joe Crowley didn't mince words when it comes to the separation of families.

"I think what the president is actually doing is continuing to take hostages," Crowley told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell.

"He's literally taking these children and their parents hostage," Crowley added. He feels it's less about politics and more about simple humanity, Haskell reported.

"I hope at the end of the day, my Republican colleagues actually speak up and show some backbone," Crowley said.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)