Our Work: Family Separation

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Steve coll, The New Yorker, When ICE Tries to Deport Americans, Who Defends Them? (March 21, 2018)

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Alysia Santo, The Marshall Project, But a good lawyer can save your life (July 23, 2018)

NIRNA: My country had an earthquake [in 2010], so they decided they were not sending Haitians back. For eight years, I had to report [to ICE], like parole. I didn't miss, not once. But the day before I went this year, I had a nightmare that they kept me, and they did. They said, "You're being detained." Then they put me in handcuffs. But I had called my sister and told her, "Call Sarah Gillman."

SARAH: We filed a petition arguing that they shouldn't have been permitted to just take her into custody without prior notice and revoke her order of supervision. In court, the judge asked the government attorney, "Why did you detain her?" He said, "Well, I just had to detain her because of operational procedures that have to be followed." So basically, they detained a human being who has multiple medical issues and was living in New York City for a long time without any problems, because they had to do something operationally. I think they've been chomping at the bit to do this and now they have the license. That night I called her older sister. I said, "Could I just ask you again about the family situation?" Their mom has dementia and from what I understand they started going through her paperwork.

NIRNA: She had documents that my mother was a citizen.

SARAH: So under the law we were able to argue that Nirna derived citizenship through her mom. We sent an email to the federal attorneys and then Friday around 5, we get an email from them agreeing to release Nirna. She was on the phone hysterically crying with me as I was trying to explain to her that it's okay, I'm coming to get you.

 
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Feature 3

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