The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit against the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for trapping immigrant children in prolonged detention. Though the agency is obligated to promptly reunify children with their families, the release of children who have been held in restrictive detention has nearly ground to a halt under a new policy that requires sign-off by the ORR director, a Trump administration appointee.
The lead plaintiff in the class action is a 17-year-old boy, LVM, who was taken from his home on Long Island in July 2017 as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on purported MS-13 gang members. LVM, who has no criminal record and no gang involvement, was detained and separated from his mother for over seven months, though an immigration judge, local ORR supervisor, and every caretaker in the facilities where he was housed had concluded that he posed no danger. The NYCLU believes that more than 40 children would qualify as part of the class of immigrant teens detained indefinitely.