NEW YORK, November 15, 2018: A Morgan Lewis team recently partnered with the Center for Constitutional Rights to reunite a Honduran father and his 2-year-old son following five months of separation and detention.
Earlier this year, the family fled Honduras, where the father had been kidnapped and held at gunpoint by gang members threatening to kill both him and his son. They reached the US-Mexico border in April and were separated upon seeking asylum in the United States. During their separation, the child was held in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in New York while the father was cycled through multiple detention centers around the country. Two of the US government's changing reasons for keeping the family separated were that the father is the child’s legally adopted and not biological father, and that he had been convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010.
After Morgan Lewis successfully argued to the immigration court that the father should be freed on bond, the US government took the position that the toddler would have to remain in custody, for possibly as long as three additional months, while it processed background checks pursuant to a new ORR policy. The Morgan Lewis team moved swiftly to draft an order to show cause for emergency relief from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York so that the child would not be held further. On October 15, just six days later, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the immediate release of the child to his father. They are currently staying with the father’s sister in Texas.
Associate Carolyn Silane led the Morgan Lewis team advising the father. Support was provided by partner Martha Stolley and associates Kathy Mularczyk and Kate Ball.