Pro Bono: Combatting Human Rights Violations with Data
In 2015, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Immigration Council, Morrison & Foerster and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area filed a lawsuit on behalf of civil detainees at a U.S. Border Patrol facility within the Tucson sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
The suit alleged inhumane and punitive treatment of the detainees, including dirty, cold and overcrowded holding cells. The suit further alleged that migrants detained in the facilities were denied basic necessities, including adequate food, beds, showers and medical care.
In March 2019, Morrison & Foerster asked Senior Managing Director Eric Poer if FTI Consulting could assist with the compilation and analysis of data produced by the U.S. Border Patrol in preparation for trial.
A team led by Senior Managing Director Chris Riper and Senior Director Robert Miś spent more than 2,500 hours analyzing years of data regarding conditions at the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector facilities, including the length of time detainees were held in detention, number of detainees per cell, frequency of meals and whether they were given access to showers.
In January 2020, a group of attorneys from Morrison & Foerster began trying their case alleging inhumane conditions at the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector detention facilities.
Robert Miś prepared an expert report and was called in to testify on how FTI Consulting compiled and analyzed data from the facilities. His exhibits, which revealed conditions at the detention facilities, were admitted into evidence and served as the backbone of the case.
In February 2020, a U.S. District Court judge in Arizona ruled that Border Patrol facilities in the Tucson sector deprived migrants of “basic human needs,” declaring that conditions at the temporary detention facilities were “substantially worse” than those in prisons and, therefore, violated the Constitution.
The ruling permanently barred the U.S. Customs and Border Protection from holding migrants in its Arizona facilities for more than 48 hours without providing them with a bed, blanket, shower, food, potable water and a medical assessment.