Adding to 40 Lawsuits, Bay Area Family Sues U.S. for Family Separation, Cruel Conditions in Detention, Medical Neglect

By Kapish Kalita

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –  A Honduran father and daughter have filed a lawsuit against the U.S.  government for forcibly separating them at the border and subjecting them to cruel conditions while in detention.

The family came to the U.S. in May 2018, seeking asylum. However, according to the lawsuit by LCCRSF (Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area) they “became victims…when government officials shackled (the father) hand, and foot, and lured him away from his then nine-year-old daughter…to an undisclosed location.”

According to the complaint, “This action seeks justice for a father and daughter who fled violence in Honduras to seek safety in the United States, only to meet cruelty at the hands of the federal government. In 2018, the United States adopted a policy (‘Family Separation Policy’ or ‘Policy’) of intentionally separating migrant families for the express purpose of inflicting emotional harm upon such families to deter them from migrating to the United States.”

In addition, the LCCRSF also noted “DHS employees were responsible for separating (the family) from each other,” and oversaw their detainment.

The case joins almost 40 lawsuits from 100 plaintiffs against the country filed against the government for child separation, said LCCRSF, noting the Biden administration has promised a just resolution of these cases, with Biden himself even stating that these families “deserve some kind of compensation.”

However, despite these statements, the Biden administration continues to fight families in court. According to the LCCRSF, the government continues to “argue that the federal government is immune from lawsuits seeking recovery for the wrongs of family separation.”

By practicing this policy, said LCCRSF, the Biden administration “dangerously encourages future administrations to resume the practice” of child separation.

Families who faced child separation, despite government pushback, are continuing their cases, with Victoria Petty, a member of the LCCRSF Bay Area, remarking that these families will continue the fight.

“We wish that the Biden administration would honor its pledge to provide justice and accountability for the suffering of our clients. Until they do, our organization, our generous partners at Kirkland & Ellis, and our clients will fearlessly litigate this case,” said Petty.

“We can’t help (the father) get back the time that he lost when separated from (his daughter). But we can try to get them both some relief and an acknowledgment of how abhorrent this policy has been for so many families,” said pro bono counsel Yan-Xin Li of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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