SANTA ANA, California (AP) – This story is part of an ongoing joint investigation between The Associated Press and the PBS series FRONTLINE on the treatment of migrant children.
A review of 38 legal claims obtained by The Associated Press – some of which have never been made public – shows taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages as a result of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy.
Dozens of migrant children and their families say they suffered trauma during forced separations and prolonged detention.
The claims are precursors to lawsuits, and many more are expected.
Some of the children, including an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy now living in Southern California, allege they were sexually molested by other children in foster care homes funded by the U.S. government.
The departments of Justice and Homeland Security, which are both named in claims, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Health and Human Services said it doesn’t respond to pending litigation and treats the children in its care with dignity and respect.
Daffodil J. Altan of FRONTLINE contributed to this report.
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