The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit Friday accusing the U.S. government of broadly separating immigrant families seeking asylum.
The lawsuit follows action the ACLU took in the case of a Congolese woman and her 7-year-old daughter, who the group said was taken from her mother "screaming and crying" and placed in a Chicago facility. While the woman was released Tuesday from a San Diego detention center, the girl remains in the facility 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) away.
Immigrant advocates say the mother and daughter's case is emblematic of the approach taken by President Donald Trump's administration. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Diego, asks a judge to declare family separation unlawful and says hundreds of families have been split by immigration authorities.
The lawsuit also raises the case of a Brazilian woman who the ACLU says was separated from her 14-year-old son after they sought asylum in August. The ACLU says the woman was given a roughly 25-day sentence jail sentence for illegally entering the country and then placed in immigration detention facilities in West Texas, while her son was taken to a Chicago facility.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not announced a formal policy to hold adult asylum seekers separately from their children. But administration officials have said they are considering separating parents and children to deter others from trying to enter the U.S.