Immigration Law

Court Orders Reunification of Families Separated at Border, Certifies Nationwide Class (Ms. L. v. ICE)

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CLASSWIDE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

"Unless there is a determination that the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child, or the parent affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily declines to be reunited with the child: (a) Defendants must reunify all Class Members with their minor children who are under the age of five (5) within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this Order; and (b) Defendants must reunify all Class Members with their minor children age five (5) and over within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order."

ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

"[T]he Court certifies the following class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), with the exceptions noted above and as modified: All adult parents who enter the United States at or between designated ports of entry who (1) have been, are, or will be detained in immigration custody by the DHS, and (2) have a minor child who is or will be separated from them by DHS and detained in ORR custody, ORR foster care, or DHS custody, absent a determination that the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child."

Key quote:

"The practice of separating these families was implemented without any effective system or procedure for (1) tracking the children after they were separated from their parents, (2) enabling communication between the parents and their children after separation, and (3) reuniting the parents and children after the parents are returned to immigration custody following completion of their criminal sentence. This is a startling reality...The government readily keeps track of personal property of detainees in criminal and immigration proceedings. Money, important documents, and automobiles, to name a few, are routinely catalogued, stored, tracked and produced upon a detainees' release, at all levels—state and federal, citizen and alien. Yet, the government has no system in place to keep track of, provide effective communication with, and promptly produce alien children. The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process...The facts set forth before the Court portray reactive governance -- responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the Government's own making. They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution,"