Contact Katie Hoeppner at (505) 266-5915 x1013 or khoeppner @aclu-nm.org
Albuquerque, NM — Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the US District Court for the District of Southern California granted the ACLU’s motion for a nationwide preliminary junction in Ms. L v. ICE, barring the administration from continuing its cruel policy of family separation. The preliminary injunction orders the government to reunite detained parents with children younger than five within 14 days and with children older than five within 30 days. The order also requires the government to ensure that parents are able to speak with their children by telephone within 10 days.
“The court did the right thing in ending the inhumane practice of separating parents from their children,” said Kristin Greer Love, a staff attorney at the ACLU of New Mexico. “No parent or child —especially those fleeing horrific violence — should ever have to endure the pain and heartache of being torn from their family and kept in prison-like conditions in a foreign country.”
In support of the ACLU’s motion for a nationwide preliminary injunction in Ms. L., the ACLU of New Mexico shared the stories of three Honduran fathers who are detained in the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, in a declaration that was filed with the Court on Monday morning. The fathers recalled how border patrol agents came into their holding cells and forced all of the children to line up across the room. They then took the children away in front of their fathers, who have not seen them and who have barely spoken with them since.
The ACLU first filed the lawsuit against ICE in February, on behalf of an asylum-seeking mother and her 7-year-old daughter who fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sought sanctuary in the United States. The two were forcibly torn from each other and detained separately 2,000 miles apart.
“This decision is an enormous victory for immigrant families who have endured unimaginable suffering” said Love. “There is much work to be done though. We will be keeping a careful watch to ensure that ICE complies with Judge Sabraw’s order.”