Reunified and Released: Salvadoran mother and son reunited after eight months of separation
A Salvadoran mother and her four-year-old son are together again, eight months after U.S. border agents separated them at the border and four months after the Trump administration erroneously deemed them "ineligible" to reunite.
A federal judge in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday, November 27, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must reunite the mother, referred to as Ms. Q in the case, and her son, "J", before midnight November 30. The pair were reunited in Texas, hours before the deadline, and released from DHS custody soon after.
"The Trump administration's open policy of cruelty and torture to families fleeing persecution has caused intense trauma with long-term consequences for children and parents," said CCR senior staff attorney Ghita Schwarz. "Last week's ruling — requiring the reunion of a traumatized four-year-old with his mother — is part of a consistent stance by federal courts to reject this vicious family separation policy."
International Criminal Court urged to open investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan, citing Guantánamo detainee’s declining health
Last week, on behalf of one of the victims in the International Criminal Court (ICC) “Situation in Afghanistan,” we urged the Pre-Trial Chamber to grant the Prosecutor's request to open a formal investigation into crimes in and related to the armed conflict in Afghanistan. In January, the Center for Constitutional Rights had submitted "victims’ representations" on behalf of two men indefinitely detained at Guantánamo, detailing the torture the men endured in CIA black sites, proxy-detention, and Department of Defense facilities, in support of the Prosecutor’s request. Thursday, the Center for Constitutional Rights informed the ICC of serious concerns about the physical and mental health of one of the victims, Sharqawi Al Hajj, and the lack of adequate response to his situation by the United States.
"It has been more than one year that the victims in the Afghanistan Situation, including victims of U.S. torture, have been waiting for an answer as to whether the International Criminal Court might provide them with a measure of long-sought justice," said CCR Senior Staff Attorney and Victims’ Legal Representative Katherine Gallagher. "Today's (Thursday's) update to the Court, like daily news reports from the ground in Afghanistan, demonstrate that each day justice is delayed is one day closer to justice denied."
Trial concluded: Judge rules pipeline company trespassed but allows taking of private property
Last week, a Louisiana judge found that the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Company (BBP) trespassed on privately owned land when it constructed its oil pipeline in the sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, but allowed the company to exercise eminent domain over the property for its use. Landowners with property interests that span 38 acres in the basin, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, challenged the land grab and damage to the property resulting from the construction of the pipeline without their permission. Following three days of trial, Judge Keith Comeaux awarded each of the landowners $150 in total for the expropriation and trespass. The landowners' attorneys say they will appeal court’s ruling.
"This case was always about holding a billion-dollar corporation legally accountable for its violations of the Louisiana and U.S. Constitutions and the damage it is doing to the Atachafalaya Basin," said Center for Constitutional Rights' Senior Staff Attorney Pamela Spees. "They made a calculated business decision that it was cheaper to violate the law than to follow it. While the court did find the company trespassed on our clients' land, the damages award validates their business decision."
We demand the DOE assistant secretary Marcus end attacks on free speech
We joined 10 other civil rights groups in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus, demanding he end his department's attacks on student free speech. The letter responds to Marcus's move in August 2018 to redefine antisemitism so that student speech supporting Palestinian rights is classified as antisemitic and is grounds for a federal investigation.
Prior to his appointment by Trump, Marcus was a leading apologist for Israel who openly urged filing complaints with the DOE to chill speech critical of Israel on college campuses, even after those complaints were dismissed on First Amendment grounds.