Frantic parents separated from their kids fill the courts on the border
WaPo: MCALLEN, Texas The words “all rise” were still ringing in the brightly lit South Texas courtroom last week when Peter E. Ormsby slipped unceremoniously into his seat.
“Good morning,” the 62-year-old federal magistrate said as the courtroom filled with the clanking of shackled defendants returning to their wooden benches. “We’re here to take up a number of criminal cases that allege that the defendants violated the immigration laws of the United States.”
Seated in front of Ormsby were 71 disheveled immigrants caught illegally crossing the Rio Grande. The number of defendants has soared amid President Trump’s crackdown on a new surge of border crossers. But the mass hearing was remarkable less for its size than for who it included: parents.
For the first time, federal courtrooms here and across the Southwest are being flooded with distraught mothers and fathers who have been charged with misdemeanor illegal entry and separated from their children — a shift in policy touted by the administration as a way to stop families from trying to reach the United States but decried by critics as traumatizing and inhumane. Last month a Honduran father separated from his wife and 3-year-old son killed himself in a Texas jail cell, The Washington Post reported Saturday.