A Morrison & Foerster pro bono team, together with co-counsel the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), filed a national class action lawsuit on behalf of migrant children who are being detained in government custody for an inordinate amount of time due to a new fingerprint requirement. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
In June of 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the federal agency responsible for immigrant children in government custody, began to require fingerprint-based background checks for all migrant children’s parents and potential caregivers. The checks can add weeks and months onto the time migrant children are detained as it takes weeks to set up appointments to have fingerprints taken and longer for results to come in. Prior to ORR’s new policy, only non-parent relatives and non-relatives seeking to sponsor children in ORR custody were required to submit fingerprints for background checks. The suit claims that the ORR did not take the necessary steps to ensure fingerprinting occurs in a timely fashion to coincide with the influx of new checks now required.
The MoFo team is being led by New York litigation partner Michael Birnbaum and includes associates Elnaz Zarrini and Lauren Gambier and senior pro bono counsel Jennifer Brown.
For more information, please see the NYCLU’s press release.