October 19, 2018
On May 7, 2018, the administration implemented a “zero tolerance policy,” pursuant to which all adults found to be entering the United States illegally would be subject to criminal prosecution. Furthermore, all adults who crossed the border accompanied by a minor child would be separated from that child. Many of the individuals affected by this policy were asylum seekers who had been forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution.
By June, more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents under this policy, leading to national and international outrage. On June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order meant to end the separation of families crossing the border by requiring preservation of the “family unit” wherever possible, while still maintaining enforcement of immigration laws. However, the order did nothing to address reunification of the families already separated and the crisis caused by tearing apart these families and scattering them across the country, often without adequate methods to ensure reunification could be achieved.
In this time of crisis, lawyers throughout the country stepped up and volunteered their services to protect the rights of these families. Gibson Dunn is very proud to have been a big part of that effort.