This is our fifth case challenging 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 earlier cases are J.B.B.C. v. Wolf, G.Y.J.P. v. Wolf, Texas Civil Rights Project v. Wolf, and P.J.E.S. v. Wolf.) The earlier cases involved minors who arrived unaccompanied by an adult; G.Y.J.P. v. Wolf is a class action on behalf of such minors. In that case, the court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the expulsions; that order is now on appeal.

This case is also a class action, on behalf of noncitizens who arrive in the United States as a family unit of at least one child and that child’s parent or legal guardian, who are or will be subjected to the new expulsion process. It was filed on January 12, 2021, together with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Legal Education and Legal Services, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Oxfam America. The named plaintiffs are three parents and their minor children, all of whom fled their countries to seek safety in the United States, and who are currently in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, awaiting expulsion.

Our basic argument is that the public health laws do not authorize the government to expel refugees from the country without observing the standards and procedures required by the immigration laws.

In September 2021, the court certified a class action and issued a preliminary injunction halting the government’s expulsion policy. The court agreed that the government’s policy was not authorized by statute and that class members would face “real threats of violence and persecution” if returned to their home countries. The government has appealed.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Refugee and Immigrant Center for Legal Education and Legal Services, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Oxfam America

Date filed

January 12, 2021


U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia