Family Separation

In the summer of 2018, the Trump administration began carrying out a formal policy of forcibly separating migrant parents from their children. Prior to this policy, and since, we have held the government accountable for this practice and advocated for the immediate reunification of separated families.



Legal Actions Taken on Behalf of Separated Families

February 11, 2019

The American Immigration Council, with partner organizations and law firms, filed administrative claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) on behalf of six families who will experience lifelong harm from the trauma from family separation. In the claims, each claimant seeks $3 million from the government for its intentional infliction of emotional distress. Justice Campaign volunteers played a pivotal role in obtaining the release for most of these claimants through the Dilley Pro Bono Project.
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Families Deserve Safety and Freedom – Not Jail!

November 06, 2018

Nearly 80 mothers and children were placed in prolonged detention in Dilley, Texas following their separations at the border this summer. Some were detained for upwards of six months. The Immigration Justice Campaign partnered with Amnesty International and the Dilley Pro Bono Project to advocate for the release of these families. As of Friday, November 30, 2018, all reunified families in Dilley were freed to continue their journeys toward asylum in the United States outside of detention. Thank you to those who joined our campaign to #FreetheFamilies!
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Handwritten Letters from Previously Separated Moms Detained in Dilley

22 immigrant mothers previously separated from their children and now detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, wrote letters to the public about being forcibly separated from their children by the government. Read their stories.
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Complaint Details Coercive Tactics Used by Immigration Officials on Separated Parents

August 23, 2018

AILA and the American Immigration Council (Council) filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) detailing coercive tactics used by government officials against parents who were separated from their children.
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Joint Complaint Filed with DHS on Behalf of Families Forcibly Separated in CBP Custody

December 11, 2017

On December 11, 2017, the Campaign joined with partners to file a complaint with DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on behalf of families – including parents from their minor children – forcibly separated in immigration custody at the border. This complaint documents an alarming number of asylum-seeking families who traveled to the U.S. together but were separated by immigration officials, with few mechanisms to locate or contact their family members in detention. The separation not only inflicts enormous trauma on children and parents, but also undermines a family’s ability to mount a joint legal defense.
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Complaint Documents 15 Cases of Family Separation at the Border

December 11, 2017

Filed with Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
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"The Trump Administration Is Separating Children From Asylum-Seeking Parents at the Border”

December 11, 2017

Immigration Impact. Katie Shepherd, National Advocacy Counsel, AILA/Council Immigration Justice Campaign.
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