Rodriguez Alvarado v. United States
On August 17, 2016, Suny Rodriguez Alvarado and her son, nine-year old Angelo, filed a federal lawsuit against the federal government for the abuse, coercion, and prolonged detention that they suffered while detained for months by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Ms. Rodriguez and Angelo entered the United States in early 2015 after fleeing Honduras because of the threats and abuse they faced from the Honduran police. The lawsuit seeks damages for the severe mistreatment, prolonged detention, and other injuries that Ms. Rodriguez Alvarado and her son faced while detained by CBP and ICE's in southern Texas.
Ms. Rodriguez Alvarado and her son's lawsuit comes against the backdrop of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) continued use of family detention centers to detain and screen thousands of Central American families seeking asylum in the United States. DHS has made these detention centers a key piece of the agency's efforts to stop asylum seekers from entering the United States, despite documented abuses in these facilities and incredibly high rates of bona fide asylum claims among the women and children in the detention centers. The lawsuit, brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act and filed in federal district court in New Jersey, is the first in the nation to seek damages for a former family detention detainee, in order to demand accountability from the government for its unlawful family detention practices.
Complaint (filed August 17, 2016)
Press Release (August 17, 2016)
Opinion Denying Motion to Transfer Case to Texas (May 25, 2017)