D.J.C.V. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

October 4, 2018

Current Status 

On October 15, 2018, Judge Hellerstein issued an order for the government to release D.J.C.V., returning him to his father, Mr. C.

Co-Counsel 

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Client(s) 

D.J.C.V., a two-year old child, and his father, Mr. C.

Case Description 

D.J.C.V. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") is a habeas corpus case on behalf of D.J.C.V., a two-year old child, and his father, Mr. C., who are asylum seekers from Honduras. They have been unlawfully detained and separated for nearly six months without any contact. They have filed this case anonymously using their initials because of D.J.C.V.'s young age, and because they face serious harm or death at the hands of gang members.
D.J.C.V. and his father, Mr. C., arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border on April 30, 2018, seeking asylum and other immigration protections under U.S. and international law. They were forcibly separated pursuant to the Trump Administration's cruel "zero tolerance" and family separation policy, which is designed to deter future asylum seekers by inflicting maximum cruelty on thousands of families successfully entering the United States. They filed this action to end their unlawful, indefinite detention and separation without any contact, and to reunify their family.
On October 4, 2018, CCR and co-counsel filed a habeas petition and motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of D.J.C.V. and his father, Mr. C., with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where they have been detained, separately, without a bond hearing or other opportunity to obtain release and reunification. The lawsuit alleges several violations of the Constitution and laws of the United States, prior court rulings, and international law.
Central to the case is a novel claim that the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" and family separation policy constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. It is knowingly causing D.J.C.V. and Mr. C. to endure wrenching trauma as punishment for seeking asylum, and to coerce and deter others from seeking similar relief, causing them severe mental pain or suffering that meets the statutory and international law definitions of torture. The risk of psychological damage is particularly acute and lasting in the case of D.J.C.V., who recently turned two years old in detention, and who will remain in detention, alone without any access to his father, in a foreign country, with little or no ability to communicate in any language with anyone because he is too young. His situation is so precarious that if judicial relief is not granted immediately, he may not remember his father or be able to re-establish a familial bond with his father – or any other family member – because he has already spent a substantial portion of his life in detention in the United States.

Case Timeline

October 15, 2018
After a hearing in court Judge Hellerstein issues an order for the government to release D.J.C.V., returning him to his father, Mr. C
October 15, 2018
After a hearing in court Judge Hellerstein issues an order for the government to release D.J.C.V., returning him to his father, Mr. C
October 15, 2018
Respondents file opposition to motion for preliminary injunction
October 15, 2018
Respondents file opposition to motion for preliminary injunction
October 15, 2018
Petitioners file a motion for an order to show cause
October 15, 2018
Petitioners file a motion for an order to show cause
October 4, 2018
CCR files petition in the Southern District of New York
October 4, 2018
CCR files petition in the Southern District of New York