J.C.O.C. v. United States (Family Separation)
On October 16, 2023, a Honduran father and daughter* in the Bay Area filed a lawsuit against the United States government for forcibly tearing them apart at the border and subjecting them to cruel conditions of detention and medical neglect. The plaintiffs seek damages for the emotional distress caused by the Trump administration’s illegal practice of using the trauma of family separation to deter migration.
In May 2018, the Bay Area family sought safety in the United States, fleeing persecution and violence in Honduras. After the family undertook a treacherous journey to the United States, hoping to exercise their right to seek asylum, immigration officials in El Paso forcibly separated the father from his child, who was 9 years old at the time, for two months with no notice or explanation.
The family is represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The lawsuit is brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), a statute that allows individuals to sue the U.S. government directly for injuries by federal agents.