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Ropes & Gray and ACLU File Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Case that Challenges “Remain in Mexico” Immigration Policy

Practices: Litigation Tags: Pro Bono

A litigation team, led by Ropes & Gray and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed a motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of a Guatemalan migrant and his son, who were returned to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico from the United States while their efforts to obtain asylum proceed, under the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols.” The protocols, informally referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, are a U.S. Government policy “whereby certain foreign individuals entering or seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico – illegally or without proper documentation – may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings.”

The motion for a preliminary injunction, filed on Jan. 22, seeks to allow the father and son to enter and remain in the United States while the court considers their lawsuit seeking to be reunited with their biological relatives, who were already released into the U.S. while their asylum claims are pending. The plaintiffs motion argues that the Migrant Protection Protocols “fatally undermine core American legal protections for asylum seekers,” noting the dangerous conditions in Nuevo Laredo, where Mexican cartels that the U.S. government is seeking to designate as international terrorist organizations have specifically targeted Central American migrants like Plaintiff, while local government authorities turn a blind eye. It argues that preliminary injunctive relief is warranted because plaintiffs will “suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,” the balance of equities tips in [their] favor,” and “an injunction is in the public interest.”

The memorandum in support of the motion for preliminary injunction is here.

“The plaintiffs have been forced to live in fear for their lives; a favorable ruling on this injunction is critical to their safety,” said Kirsten Mayer, litigation & enforcement partner at Ropes & Gray, who is litigating the matter pro bono. The team includes litigation & enforcement senior attorney Jessica Dormitzer and associate Emily Smit.

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