Lawsuit Seeks to Advance Public Understanding of CBP’s Expulsions of Mothers and Newborn Children from the U.S. Shortly After Giving Birth


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 7, 2021

BOSTON – Last Friday, theNational Immigration Litigation Alliance, Al Otro Lado, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeking information about CBP’s expulsion of U.S. citizen infants to México, within days of their birth and before official U.S. birth certificates were issued, leaving these infants undocumented in border cities in northern Mexico.

The lawsuit seeks to uncover records regarding a widely-reported trend of deporting mothers and their newborn babies within hours of their discharge from U.S. hospitals and medical facilities where the mothers gave birth. Children who are born in the United States automatically are U.S. citizens. However, under CBP’s current border enforcement practices, these U.S. citizens infants, their mothers, and their siblings are deported with little more than the clothes on their backs.

The groups bringing this case believe that the vast majority of the expulsions were carried out pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 265 (known as Title 42), which the Trump Administration invoked in order to quickly expel individuals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and which advocates are pressuring the Biden Administration to rescind. The suit also seeks records related to the treatment of pregnant women in CBP custody as well as statistics reflecting the total number of new mothers and U.S. citizen newborns subject to the expulsion policy.

“No mother should experience the horror of being dropped off on the other side of the border within days of giving birth,” said Trina Realmuto, executive director of the National Immigration Litigation Alliance. “The public deserves to know how CBP is treating pregnant women and how it is grossly abusing Title 42 to expel mothers and newborn U.S. citizen children.”

“While Title 42 purports to be a public health law enforced to protect the lives of U.S. citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no discernable health benefit that would justify the expulsion of U.S. citizen infants and their mothers to border cities widely recognized as among the most dangerous in the world,” said Nicole Ramos, Border Rights Project Director at Al Otro Lado.

“The list of inhumane treatment by U.S. immigration authorities against migrant families is long, from separating families, to locking children in cages, to keeping families in prisons for years. Dumping mothers and newborns in Mexico after they’ve been discharged from the hospital tops this deplorable list,” said Nicole Phillips, Legal Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “It places the mothers and infants at risk of medical complications and harm by cartels, and must be stopped.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, challenges the failure of CBP to release information in response to a FOIA request submitted on March 18, 2021.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

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Media contacts:

Trina Realmuto, National Immigration Litigation Alliance
(617) 819-4447; trina@immigrationlitigation.org

Melissa Flores, Al Otro Lado
(213) 444-6081, melissa@alotrolado.org

Nicole Phillips, Haitian Bridge Alliance
(510) 715-2855; nmp.law@gmail.com

Jennifer Talbott, Proskauer Rose LLP
(310) 284-4595; jtalbott@proskauer.com

The National Immigration Litigation Alliance (NILA) is a newly founded immigrants’ rights nonprofit that strives to protect, enforce, and expand the rights of noncitizens and individuals perceived to be noncitizens by engaging in impact litigation and by building the capacity of immigration attorneys to litigate in federal court. NILA seeks to accomplish the later through its co-counseling and strategic assistance programs as well as through publications and presentations. Follow the latest NILA news and information at www.immigrationlitigation.org and on Twitter at @NILA_ImmLit.  

Al Otro Lado provides holistic legal and humanitarian support to indigent refugees, deportees, and other migrants in the US and Tijuana through a multidisciplinary, client-centered, harm reduction-based practice. We provide direct, free, legal services on both sides of the US-Mexico border and beyond. We engage in zealous individual representation, medical-legal partnerships, and impact litigation to protect the rights of immigrants and asylum-seekers. Follow us on Facebook, and on Instagram and Twitter @alotrolado-org.

Haitian Bridge Alliance is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provide migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and build solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @HaitianBridge