Together with Lawyers for Civil Rights in Boston, DLA Piper successfully represented two families from Honduras in the reunification with their children after the US government's decision to separate the children from their fathers at the US-Mexico border.
Upon crossing the border in May 2018, the fathers and their children surrendered themselves to immigration officials. They were detained and then separated. The fathers were each deported to Honduras, but their children remained in detention in the United States – a six-year-old in New York and a sixteen-year-old in Texas.
Lawyers in DLA Piper's Boston office worked with the children's families and with counsel for the class members in pending national litigation, including Ms. L v. ICE and M.M.M. v. Sessions, to navigate the process for reuniting families established by the Department of Justice and implemented through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"There were more players and issues than we could have anticipated," said Yasmin Ghassab, an associate in DLA Piper's Boston office who worked on the matter. "Fortunately, the process was more cooperative than litigious. At the end of the day, despite differing motivations, all parties wanted the same thing: for the children to be back with their parents. It felt good to use our skills to do such meaningful work."
The team successfully expedited the reunification of these children with their families in Honduras.
The six-year-old child was reunited with his parents in Honduras on September 21, 2018. The 16-year-old child was reunited with her parents in Honduras on October 4, 2018.
"You learn how to use your position as an advocate to move through the legal system and get results," said Robert Sherman, a partner DLA Piper's Boston office who worked on the matter. "When you put families back together you get to use your advocacy skills in the most satisfying way possible. Being able to make a difference like this is the best of what we can do."