MoForever Alumni News - Winter 2019

MoForever Winter 2019 | 22 wins cases is important. NCYL has been incredibly fortunate to have a firm like Morrison & Foerster as a partner.” Meeting the Children’s Immigration Challenge Currently, NCYL is focusing its attention on the plight of the more than 14,000 immigrant children being detained in federal custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Protections established by the settlement of Flores v. Reno , which was signed 21 years ago, ensure appropriate, short-term care for minors. Many of these protections are not being complied with. Leecia and other NCYL attorneys were counsel in the Flores case, along with other organizations. As part of their efforts to enforce the Flores settlement, they are meeting and talking to young people in ORR facilities around the country to document their stories, learning firsthand what their experiences are, how long they’ve been detained, and what the holdups are to their release. They are then presenting these stories to the court through motions to enforce the Flores settlement. “Thousands of these children are being warehoused in horrible, unlicensed facilities where they receive little to no education and are terrified they will never get out. For example, at the tent city called Tornillo in the desert outside of El Paso, nearly 3,000 kids are being housed in soft-sided tents in a remote area with no utilities or potable water. They are being flown there in the middle of the night with no explanation of where they are going or why. And beyond this poor treatment, what is infuriating from a systems standpoint is that many of these children are being kept there for months simply because the current administration is failing to do fingerprinting checks of their sponsors promptly so that they can be reunited with family.” Leecia notes that, while Flores provides crucial protections to the 14,000 children being detained by ORR, “we really need an army of attorneys thinking creatively about how to counteract some of the harsher immigration policies being pursued by the current administration.” In an effort to zero in on the fingerprinting delays that are causing the number of children in ORR custody to skyrocket, NCYL and the New York Civil Liberties Union have recently partnered with a pro bono team from MoFo to file a new case called Duchitanga v. Lloyd . “Everyone wants to ensure that immigrant children are kept safe and their sponsors are vetted appropriately before children are released to them. But this process should take weeks, not months. The administration’s poor policy decisions and inept implementation of its fingerprinting and background check requirements are causing thousands of children to suffer needlessly in government custody. We are thrilled to be partnering with MoFo to put a stop to these harmful practices.” “WE REALLY NEED AN ARMY OF ATTORNEYS THINKING CREATIVELY ABOUT HOW TO COUNTERACT SOME OF THE HARSHER IMMIGRATION POLICIES...”