Ms. L. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Ms. L. and her 7 year old daughter, S.S., arrived at a United States Port of Entry near San Diego seeking asylum due to a fear of near certain death in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An asylum officer determined Ms. L. had a significant possibility of ultimately receiving asylum and permitted her to move to the next stage of the process. Since their arrival in November 2017, Ms. L. and S.S. have been detained separately with the exception of four days prior to separation. Ms. L. is detained in San Diego and her 7 year old daughter is detained alone in Chicago. 

In response to the United States government’s forcible separation of Ms. L. from her 7 year old daughter, Juvenile Law Center joined Cooley LLP, Children’s Defense Fund, The Center for Children & Youth Justice and other amici on an amicus brief filed in support of a petition and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. Amici’s brief argued that government action involuntarily separating children from parents who pose no risk of harm to them within immigration detention is unconscionable, needlessly traumatizes children and families, and contradicts nationwide child welfare practices and international law.

On March 19, 2018 Ms. L. and her daughter were reunited. On June 6, 2018 the federal district judge rejected the government’s motion to dismiss the case and granted leave for the case to proceed as a class action.