The Southern Poverty Law Center said Tuesday it filed a class-action lawsuit against the the Trump administration last week on behalf of more than 10,000 migrant children who have been detained for crossing the border.
The lawsuit argued that the children's due process rights as asylum seekers were violated and called for their immediate release.
"If the President is really interested in taking on a crisis in regard to the immigration situation — this is one he has the power to solve, since his Administration created it," said Mary Bauer, deputy legal director for the center's Immigrant Justice Project. "We have over 10,000 children in custody right now because this administration is using them as bait. This deplorable, deliberate policy means that these children are languishing in detention for months at a time."
The Center originally filed the legal action last year in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on behalf of children who were being held in that state. The new lawsuit covers thousands more that are being held in 100 federal detention centers.
Now, the group says, the number of children being held has reached a "crisis level."