Court Allows Family Separation Suit to Proceed

KRMFL, along with Arnold & Porter, the American Immigration Council, and the National Immigrant Justice Center, filed a lawsuit in September 2019 on behalf of five parents and their children who were directly impacted by the Trump administration’s family separation policy- a policy that senior government officials have confirmed was designed to deter migrants from seeking refuge in the United States. On March 30, 2020, a federal court in Arizona allowed the lawsuit against the United States to proceed, issuing an opinion denying the government’s motion to dismiss the case.

In the lawsuit, our clients claim that the U.S. government intentionally subjected the families to unnecessary and extraordinary trauma that will have lifelong implications. In addition to the forceful separation of their children, the mothers were given no information in regards to the whereabouts of their children, many of them being sent to shelters across the country. This intentional withholding of information persisted for months with many mothers experiencing anguish believing that they would never see their children again. The U.S. government has to this date admitted to separating at least 4,300 children from their families with several reports indicating the policy of family separation is still being enforced.

As a result of the Court’s decision, the lawsuit will proceed to discovery, in which government officials will be required to answer questions about the policy and the harms caused to our clients.

KRMFL’s Jonathan Feinberg is co-counsel to the plaintiffs.

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