San Francisco securities litigation and regulatory enforcement paralegal Marilyn Weger and Seattle senior intellectual property associate Jeffrey Cox conducted interviews of children in Harlingen/Brownsville, Texas and San Antonio, respectively, with our client, the Women’s Refugee Commission, as a result of the sudden and huge influx in the number of children that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is transferring to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) after the children are detained at the border by Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”). The number of children is more than double what it has been in the past. This is happening at the same time that migration from Mexico (especially of adults), is at a net zero (meaning that presumably as many Mexicans are leaving as are coming into the country). ORR is scrambling to find enough beds and speeding up their reunification process - but funding is an issue. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of kids sitting in border patrol stations waiting for a place to be transferred.
Against this background, Marilyn and Jeff traveled with the Women’s Commission to investigate the cause of this crisis and to make practical recommendations to resolve it. This story has drawn national media attention. This work follows up on a report titled Halfway Home issued by the Women’s Commission in 2009, which analyzed the conditions of confinement for immigrant children, and set forth specific recommendations for improvement and to ensure compliance with applicable law. A team of Orrick attorneys researched and wrote Halfway Home in collaboration with our client.