New York, Aug. 12, 2021 – Proskauer, a leading international law firm, announced today that through the firm’s pro bono work they have successfully reunited a Salvadoran father and mother with their youngest daughter after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018.
“Family separation has serious long-lasting effects on its victims and families,” said partner William C. Silverman, who is responsible for leading Proskauer’s pro bono efforts. “The practice of separating families undermined our identity as a nation grounded in decency and the rule of law.”
Proskauer intervened and provided legal aid to the Salvadoran family after the father and his youngest daughter sought asylum in the U.S. and crossed the border in May 2018 from Ojinaga, Mexico into Texas where they were immediately apprehended and taken into custody. A border immigration officer informed the family that they would be separated pursuant to the Family Separation Policy. The father was eventually deported to El Salvador while his youngest daughter remained in the U.S.
On May 7, 2018, the U.S. implemented the “zero tolerance” family separation policy, requiring immigration authorities to systematically separate children from their parents at the border, a practice that had been ongoing as early as November 2017. After the U.S. government began separating thousands of families, Proskauer collaborated with the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) to file administrative complaints under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) on behalf of impacted families.
In April 2020, Proskauer prepared a Federal Tort Claims Act petition on the Salvadoran father’s behalf, which was filed on May 8, 2020. The firm also assisted the parents in filing a request for humanitarian parole to legally enter the U.S. so they could reunite with their youngest daughter.
Following a number of communications from Proskauer’s pro bono attorneys, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, the parents received their visas to legally enter the U.S. and reunite with their daughter on July 29, 2021 – three years after separation.
Over the years, Proskauer’s pro bono attorneys have provided legal resources and representation to countless families impacted by the border crisis.
In June 2018, when Silverman first learned of the government’s practice to separate families, he spent a week in Dilley, Texas volunteering at the country’s largest immigration detention facility for families. He helped prepare asylum seekers for their credible fear interviews and saw the impact of the family separation policy firsthand. The following year, when the “remain in Mexico policy” was implemented – which required migrants to seek asylum in the U.S. from Mexico – Silverman and two Proskauer colleagues volunteered in Mexico City where they partnered with the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI).
For more than 140 years, Proskauer has had an unwavering commitment to its communities through its support of public service initiatives that enable its lawyers, and staff, to make a broad impact through a variety of community oriented projects.
About Proskauer for Good
At Proskauer, "for good" means giving of ourselves and making a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate.
Our pro bono work breaks boundaries. From high-impact litigation and complex transactions for nonprofit organizations, to matters for low-income individuals seeking equal access to justice – we are committed to driving businesses as well as society, forward.