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Case Name A.I.I.L. v. Sessions IM-AZ-0028
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-00481-JAS ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On October 3, 2019, noncitizen children and their parents filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, challenging the Trump Administration's separation of asylum seeker families. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, sued various ... read more >
On October 3, 2019, noncitizen children and their parents filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, challenging the Trump Administration's separation of asylum seeker families. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, sued various personnel from five federal departments: the Department of Justice (DOJ), the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Proceeding under §§ 1985 and 1986 and Bivens, the plaintiffs claimed violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

The complaint alleged that defendants’ policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border caused irreparable psychological and physical damage to children and parents. Additionally, it was asserted that the practice was intended to inflict pain on immigrants both to induce the plaintiffs to abandon their asylum cases and to deter other immigrants from seeking asylum. It also stated that after children were separated, they were detained in punitive conditions and that the defendants failed to adequately track children so as to reunite children with their parents. The plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as the establishment of a recovery fund to provide health services. They also sought certification of two classes: (1) a class of all minor children who had arrived since 2017 and been separated from their parents by DHS or its agencies without a hearing demonstrating that a parent was unfit or dangerous to the child, and (2) a class of all parents of minor children subjected to the same separation with a hearing. The case was assigned to Judge James A. Soto.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of jurisdiction on February 14, 2020. That motion was denied on August 31, 2020, when the court concurrently granted plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint. On September 3, 2020, plaintiffs filed their amended complaint, adding three claims against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. These claims alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and loss of consortium and were brought individually by the plaintiffs rather than as a part of the class action allegations.

On November 13, 2020, the individual defendants re-filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and lack of jurisdiction. On November 23, 2020, the United States did the same and additionally argued the venue was improper.

As of March 25, 2021, the motions to dismiss remained pending. This case is ongoing.

Cedar Hobbs - 11/03/2019
Ellen Aldin - 05/25/2020
Matthew Feng - 03/25/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Family discrimination
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Disparate Impact
Failure to supervise
Family reunification
Juveniles
Neglect by staff
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Pattern or Practice
Placement in detention facilities
Youth / Adult separation
Immigration/Border
Admission - procedure
Asylum - procedure
Border police
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Family
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1985
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
Defendant(s) United States
United States
United States
United States
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Two classes of immigrant children and their parents separated at United States immigrant facilities.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 10/03/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Ariz.
02/05/2021
4:19-cv-481
IM-AZ-0028-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Ariz.
10/03/2019
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-AZ-0028-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
09/03/2020
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 41]
IM-AZ-0028-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Soto, James Alan (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amdur, Spencer E. W. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0002
Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Chepiga, Geoffrey (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Galindo, Daniel Antonio (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Gelernt, Lee (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Goldberg, Emily Beth (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Goldblatt, Hallie S. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Herzog, Steven C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Kang, Stephen B. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0002
Lieberman, Martin (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Rabinovitz, Judy (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001
Reinert, Alexander A. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Rubin, Jacqueline P. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0001 | IM-AZ-0028-0002 | IM-AZ-0028-9000
Wee, Christine Keeyeh (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0028-0002

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