LOUISAVILLE, Ky. — A six-year-old Kentucky girl and her parents must be reunited with their relatives in Italy after spending two months in an immigration detention center in Kentucky, a federal court has ruled.
Olivia Rose Edge is expected to be released from a Kentucky detention center Wednesday.
Her family said the child has not spoken publicly since the Feb. 4 crash near Ancona, Italy, where Olivia was found covered in mud. Relatives claimed Olivia is deaf and blind but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions disputed that Tuesday and said medical evidence shows the girl was not deaf and did not have vision problems.
“There has been no medical update on her condition since March and her current condition is not known,” Sessions said in an Aug. 31 court filing.
The girl arrived in the United States on a tourist visa in January. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said immigration authorities recently began work on an emergency humanitarian parole petition to let Olivia reunite with her family.
Olivia’s relatives sued the Justice Department last week after a federal judge in Jefferson County denied their request to release the girl. Kentucky District Judge Greg Stivers wrote in a Monday ruling that the U.S. government bears most of the burden of proving why it shouldn’t reunite the family.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Brett M.Meredith turned down the family’s earlier request for asylum on grounds that at age six, Olivia should not be considered an adult. Meredith said although the girl has been through “unspeakable suffering,” that is not sufficient to overcome immigration laws that define her as a minor.
“No parent or parent is likely to withstand the unimaginable stress and trauma of returning to live as she did in Italy and may suffer grave emotional distress or other physical or mental conditions” the judge wrote.
The ruling is in opposition to a lawsuit filed by families against the government over a separate immigration issue.
ICE has stated it has been unable to locate the girl’s biological father, and the girl is considered the sole heir to the estate of her mother, whose remains were found in Italian rubble.
Olivia’s biological father said in a court filing that he does not fear for his daughter’s safety, and a forensic linguist has said that Olivia is well aware of his name and what her family’s status is, and has been able to follow conversations between her father and her mother.
The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are victims of sex trafficking. The girl’s attorneys have not responded to a request for comment.