New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) announced Tuesday that the Empire State intends to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration on the grounds that it is "violating the constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children" at the border.
"Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated the border," the announcement said. "We now know of more than 70 children who are staying in federal shelters in New York State and that number is expected to increase as other facilities are contacted."
Democrats have pounded Trump over his "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting migrants crossing the border illegally and separating them from their children. Trump has said he hates the measure and is enforcing existing laws that Democrats could help fix, while critics say he could end the practice whenever he wanted.
Cuomo's announcement went on to say New York is suing in order to "protect the health and well-being of children being held at least 10 different facilities across the state and at others throughout the nation."
"The Trump Administration's policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy," Cuomo said. "We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all."
#BREAKING: New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump administration for violating the Constitutional rights of immigrant children and their families who have been separated at the border. pic.twitter.com/df497NyEnb
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 19, 2018
Cuomo also accused Trump of using the children as a "bargaining chip" in immigration negotiations with Democrats, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
"Politics aside, philosophy aside, children have legal rights. Parents have legal rights," Cuomo said. "That's established firmly in the federal and state constitutions and in case law."
Trump has continued to stand by the policy, tweeting Tuesday, "We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally. Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions."
We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally. Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018
Cuomo is facing a Democratic primary challenge from his left from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon. He is seeking a third term in November.