Guidance for Practitioners: Understanding the 2018 Settlement Agreement in the Family Separation Litigation

Last Updated

November 5, 2021

Family separation will likely go down in history as one the most barbaric asylum deterrence policies that the U.S. government has ever adopted. Thankfully, a federal court ended the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy and ordered the government to reunite and release the families from its custody. Through that federal court litigation, which includes four consolidated class action lawsuits related to the government’s policy of family separation, the court approved a Settlement Agreement on Nov. 15, 2018.

Practitioners should read the Notice of Proposed Settlement and Settlement Election Form and the text of the Settlement Agreement, which is accessible here. The Settlement Agreement provides a mechanism by which certain separated parents and children may pursue asylum or other protection in the United States. Below is information on how to determine if your client is a class member, how to determine if your client may receive any benefits from being a class member, and how to request protections under the Settlement Agreement.