University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name J.S.R. v. Sessions / V.F.B. v. Sessions IM-CT-0012
Docket / Court C.A. No. 3:18cv1106 (VAB) ( D. Conn. )
Additional Docket(s) C.A. No. 3:18cv1110 (VAB)  [ 18-1110 ]  D. Conn.
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders
Attorney Organization Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (Yale)
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
This lawsuit grew out of the Trump Administration's family separation policy, by which kids were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On July 2, 2018, two children from Central America separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, filed these ... read more >
This lawsuit grew out of the Trump Administration's family separation policy, by which kids were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On July 2, 2018, two children from Central America separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, filed these separate lawsuits and petitions for habeas corpus against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Both plaintiffs, represented by the Yale Law School's clinic (the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization) and by Connecticut Legal Services, sought injunctive relief, habeas relief, and attorneys fees, claiming violations of Fifth Amendment substantive and procedural due process, Fifth Amendment equal protection, the ADA, and the APA. The plaintiffs alleged that after they were apprehended in Texas by Border Patrol, a subagency of DHS (within Customs and Border Protection, CBP), they were forcibly separated from their parents and placed with a resettlement agency in Connecticut, while being kept incommunicado from their parents for several weeks at a time. They further alleged that the forced separation caused them severe mental and emotional trauma.

The plaintiffs each filed motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on July 5, 2018, arguing that separation from their parents caused them irreparable harm. The government objected that a preliminary injunction in this case would interfere with its efforts to implement the relief ordered in a concurrent lawsuit, Ms. L. v. ICE, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, which already ordered the government to reunite all families separated by the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy by July 26. 2018 WL 3129486. (There's more information on the Ms. L. case here.

The two Connecticut cases were consolidated on July 9, 2018; after a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motions on July 11, District Judge Victor A. Bolden granted the plaintiffs' motions in part and denied them in part. Judge Bolden sided with the plaintiffs’ arguments that their constitutional rights were violated. 2018 WL 3421321. Although he agreed with the government that ordering the immediate reunification of the parents with the plaintiffs would merely duplicate the relief ordered in the California case, he noted that the relief in that case was designed to remedy to the constitutional wrong suffered parents separated from their children, whereas his injunction was designed to remedy that suffered by children. He thus issued writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum so that the parents would be physically present at a July 18 status conference intended to address the form of relief for the two plaintiffs; he also ordered that the plaintiffs be allowed to communicate daily with their parents via video conference. On July 16, the government filed a notice of compliance indicating that the plaintiffs would be reunited with their parents that same day, and that ICE would parole the parents from custody.

As this article explains, the plaintiffs' lawyers offered this case as a model for other litigators elsewhere. Because the lawsuit focused on repairing harm to the children, Judge Bolden allowed the kids to be released to their parents outside of federal custody, without even ankle monitors to keep track of their location.

As of July 20, 2018, the case is still ongoing.

Alexander Walling - 07/20/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Discharge & termination plans
Family reunification
Juveniles
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration/Border
Border police
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Family
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description A nine-year-old boy from Honduras and a fourteen-year-old girl from El Salvador who fled their respective countries due to gang violence and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with their parents.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (Yale)
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Habeas relief
None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2018 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  J.S.R v. Sessions; V.F.B v Sessions
Yale Law webpage
Date: Summer 2018
(Yale Law School)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
www.dhs.gov
Date: Sep. 5, 2017
By: Department of Homeland Security
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementation of Executive Order 13768, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
The Washington Post
Date: May 22, 2017
By: Jefferson Sessions (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
Citation: 82 Fed. Reg. Presidential Documents 8793 (Jan. 27, 2017)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 25, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:18-cv-01106-VAB (D. Conn.)
IM-CT-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief & Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
IM-CT-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief & Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
IM-CT-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order on Motion for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 57] (2018 WL 3421321) (D. Conn.)
IM-CT-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Compliance [ECF# 63]
IM-CT-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bolden, Victor Allen (D. Conn.)
IM-CT-0012-0002 | IM-CT-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahmad, Muneer I. (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-0001 | IM-CT-0012-0004 | IM-CT-0012-9000
Lewis, Joanne (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-0001 | IM-CT-0012-0004 | IM-CT-0012-9000
Orihuela, Marisol (California)
IM-CT-0012-0001 | IM-CT-0012-0004 | IM-CT-0012-9000
Perry, Joshua (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-0001 | IM-CT-0012-0004
Wishnie, Michael J. (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-0001 | IM-CT-0012-0004 | IM-CT-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hughes, John B. (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-9000
McConaghy, Michelle Lynn (Connecticut)
IM-CT-0012-0003 | IM-CT-0012-9000

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