This case, like J.B.B.C. v. Wolf, challenges the Trump administration’s policy of expelling refugees without any of the protections required by the immigration laws, on the ground that they might have COVID-19 infections. The illegality of that policy is especially clear in cases involving minors who arrive unaccompanied by an adult, because they have special legal protections.
In this case, we filed a lawsuit on June 9 on behalf of a 13-year-old girl from El Salvador who came to the United States to join her mother after gangs threatened her life because her mother, who had been a police officer, had refused to cooperate with the gangs and had fled to the United States, where she was granted legal protection and now lives here lawfully. Nevertheless, G.Y.J.P. was quickly returned to El Salvador under the new policy, without legal process.
The government moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s return to El Salvador made the case moot. In December 2020, the court denied the government’s motion, explaining that whether or not it could order the plaintiff returned, it could still order meaningful relief by striking down the challenged policy and preventing her from being expelled under it should she reach the United States again.
The plaintiff was subsequently returned to the U.S. and reunited with her mother. We voluntarily dismissed the case in January 2021.