Families Intentionally Separated Under Trump Administration Receive Much-Needed Settlement in Class Action Case That Limits Future Family Separations

October 16, 2023
Last modified: 
October 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2023Today, the U.S. government reached a settlement in the Ms. L., et al. v. ICE, et al., class action litigation filed in 2018 seeking injunctive relief for parents and children intentionally separated at the southwest border under the former Trump Administration from 2017 through January 2021.  

The settlement lays out important new criteria to limit the future separation of immigrant families. The settlement also provides for continued family reunifications and limited immigration benefits for separated families. It offers support services for the families, including access to counsel for some unrepresented migrants, access to mental health resources, targeted legal support related to immigration claims, limited housing stipends, and assistance paying certain medical costs to those who qualify. 

The following is a statement from Kate Melloy Goettel, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council:  

Today's news is a huge step toward healing and justice for the impacted children and families whose lives have been permanently tainted by this traumatic experience. We applaud this settlement which has taken years of negotiations. Family separation is cruel and unnecessary. The United States should always honor its legacy of providing safety to those fleeing violence and its commitment to family unity.    

We hope the United States never again attempts to usfamily separation as a deterrent as the practice is heartless and un-American. We believe children belong with their families. We must continue to hold our government accountable.  

The American Immigration Council has vehemently opposed family separation under the zero-tolerance policy since the beginning of its implementationThe Council and its partners have archived critical emails, memoranda, and policy documents relating to family separation received through Freedom of Information Act requests and litigation. 

The American Immigration Council has a range of research and other resources on family separation, including legal and policy experts available to speak on the subject. 


For more information, contact: 

Brianna Dimas at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7557.   


Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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