Lawyer Michael Avenatti is no doubt most well known at present for his representation of adult film star Stormy Daniels. She’s suing U.S. President Donald Trump over his attempts to silence her in the wake of an affair the two of them had — but that’s not all Avenatti’s working on, though. He’s also working alongside lawyer Ricardo de Anda to represent dozens of separated immigrant mothers and children.
Tuesday, he shared on Twitter that a government lawyer had shot down his request to reunite a Guatemalan child with their mother, who is not, at present, in the United States.
‘[Ricardo de Anda] & I appeared in court today to attempt to allow us to take our client Antony home to mom in Guatemala TODAY. The govt opposed our request – he will now have to stay perhaps another 2 mos here. He hasn’t seen his mom in 81 days. Trump and his cronies have no heart.’
.@ricardo_de_anda & I appeared in ct today to attempt to allow us to take our client Antony home to mom in Guatemala TODAY. The govt opposed our request – he will now have to stay perhaps another 2 mos here. He hasn’t seen his mom in 81 days. Trump and his cronies have no heart. pic.twitter.com/hD0AZHgIoQ
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) August 14, 2018
The issues Avenatti’s working on resolving stem from the Trump administration’s zero tolerance undocumented immigration policy implemented earlier this year. Under the original incarnation of the policy, undocumented immigrant children were separated from their families while the adults faced prosecution without regard to whether they posed an actual documented criminal threat.
Trump eventually signed an executive order to stop the family separations, and a federal judge ordered that every one of the separated children be reunited with their families. That hasn’t happened, though, and hundreds of children remain in the custody of the U.S. government. In a number of cases — like Antony’s — the parents in question aren’t in the country anymore. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations unit official Matthew Albence claimed the government to have no “legal authority” to reunite children with their parents who aren’t in the country anymore.
Recently, the Trump administration suggested that third party, nongovernmental organizations should track down parents who are no longer in the U.S. although their kids are. Some of those parents have been deported and some are alleged to have left the country “voluntarily.” Considering the language of Avenatti’s tweet, it seems as though he — or someone in his circle — knows where Antony’s mother is, thus facilitating a reunification that the government doesn’t seem keen on allowing.
De Anda explained:
‘We needed [a Justice Department lawyer] to agree not to appeal a termination order so we could take custody of the child and return him to his mother. No dice.’
The Trump administration’s insistence that all parents left the country without their children voluntarily is undercut by the fact that the forms establishing one’s acceptance of leaving their children behind in the U.S. are — wait for it — in English. The Trump administration wants us to believe that a government that could use more bilingual staff at a Virginia immigrant detention center to avoid confrontations that grow into abuse has translators on hand who speak the right language for the case of every deportation that left some 430 children like Antony in the U.S. alone.
In reality, the Trump administration itself bears responsibility for having “permanently orphaned” hundreds of children if they don’t get their act together, in the words of Judge Dana Sabraw.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot