Last week, Proskauer hosted a panel discussion focusing on the recent influx of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border and the urgent need for pro bono legal services. According to The New York Times, this past fiscal year nearly 2.5 million migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, which is two and a half times greater than the number from four years ago. The large number of recent arrivals has overwhelmed an already strained system, as demonstrated by the current backlog of three million immigration cases — which has doubled since 2021 — pending before just 800 judges. 

In April 2022, Proskauer, with co-counsel Public Counsel and Squire Patton Boggs, filed suit in Arizona federal court on behalf of a Guatemalan mother and daughter who were forcibly separated by border patrol agents in 2018.  Earlier this summer, the Court denied a motion to dismiss brought by the federal government.  The separation at issue in this case was among the thousands that occurred due to prior administration’s family separation policy. Five years later, many of the issues impacting these families are still unresolved, and, despite publicly denouncing the policy, the government continues to defend family separation in federal lawsuits filed across the nation.  

Last week, hundreds of lawyers and staff gathered across Proskauer for the 15th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony to honor those who have made significant contributions to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts this past year.  The evening began with a special guest.  Preet Bharara, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, shared insights from his time in office, impressed the importance of public service, and addressed several issues he raised in his best-selling book Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and The Rule of Law.  Also of note were remarks from Labor & Employment associate Godfre Blackman who is currently serving as the Firm’s NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) Fellow. As part of the Firm’s Collaborate for Change initiative, Proskauer created this fellowship for one of our associates to work directly with the LDF on strategic matters focusing on eliminating disparities and achieving racial justice and equality.

Proskauer, with co-counsel Public Counsel and Squire Patton Boggs, has filed a complaint in Arizona Federal Court on behalf of a mother and daughter from Guatemala who were forcibly separated after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. The lawsuit comes after negotiations with the Biden

Last spring, Proskauer launched a partnership with the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) – an organization focused on empowering Asian American, immigrant, and low-income communities in New York City. Continuing our partnership, we launched an “Advancing Social Justice Summer Teen Series,” where a select group of students took part in a six-week series where conversations addressed paths to law school and social justice issues.

On May 7, 2018, the United States implemented the “zero tolerance” family separation policy, directing immigration authorities to systematically separate children from their parents at the border, a practice that had been ongoing as early as November 2017.  The stated purpose of this policy was to deter future migrants from attempting to cross the border, including migrants seeking asylum in the United States fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries.  Although the government formally ended the policy in June 2018 following widespread public outcry, many hundreds of children remain separated from their parents.  To address this problem, on February 2, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order in an effort to reunite children separated from their families at the United States-Mexico border.  Numerous nonprofit agencies and law firms, including Proskauer, have stepped forward to help victims of family separation obtain humanitarian parole and become reunited with their families.