Trump administration: Settlement talks on family separation lawsuit are halted

The government has suspended settlement talks on a controversial class-action lawsuit filed last year over the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The move comes amid growing public outrage over President Donald Trump’s policy of separating families that illegally cross the border into the United States and angry calls for government officials to bring families back together.

Jerald Moser, a partner at the Boston law firm of Connelly LLP who filed the suit, said in a statement on Thursday that the group was discontinuing settlement negotiations.

Moser said the announcement does not preclude litigation and that settlement talks may resume at a later date.

“The suspension of negotiation is the natural consequence of an overwhelming media and public response to Attorney General Sessions’s lawless decision to separate babies and toddlers from their parents without their parents’ consent,” he said.

The Trump administration announced last summer that parents would be criminally prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, and the children would be taken from their parents. After the outcry, the administration abandoned that practice, but has continued to separate families who continue to cross illegally.

The government has taken in more than 2,500 children under 5 years old, and more than 2,400 of them have been separated from their parents.

The lawsuit Moser filed last year argues that the government’s decision to separate families violated the Constitution’s separation of powers and due process clause.

Moser’s team is representing non-profit immigrant advocacy groups and parents, who brought the suit in Boston federal court.

In addition to Connelly, the plaintiffs’ legal team includes Mijente, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Center for Homeless Youth, the Legal Aid Justice Center, Sanctuary Cities and Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, and CHIRLA, which is part of the California Immigrant Policy Center.

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