Experts Available to Discuss Traumatic Impact of Federal Failure to Adhere to Protections for Certain Unaccompanied Children

Experts will provide live witness testimony in ImmDef v. DHS trial Tuesday

For Planning Purposes

November 3, 2023

Los Angeles – Witnesses with significant expertise in child psychology and immigration law will provide live testimony on Tuesday, November 7 during a bench trial in ImmDef v. DHS. The trial represents the latest step in civil and immigrants’ rights groups’ legal battle to ensure that the federal government protects the congressionally mandated rights of unaccompanied children affected by Remain in Mexico. Although plaintiffs initially filed under the previous administration, the Biden administration remains steadfastly opposed to settlement. 

Trial will begin at 9:30 am at the Federal Courthouse located at 350 W 1st Street in Los Angeles. Witnesses will testify and may be cross examined. They are: 

Marion Donovan-Kaloust, Legal Services Director, Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef): Donovan-Kaloust oversees the Children’s Representation Project at ImmDef, one of the largest legal services providers in Southern California. She will share how the federal government is managing the cases of unaccompanied children that had prior interaction with the Remain in Mexico program, addressing the difficulties in providing these clients with the requisite care needed at a vulnerable time. Donovan-Kaloust will provide testimony on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Dr. Minal Giri: Dr. Giri is a pediatrician who provided expert testimony based on her extensive experience in clinical and policy settings. She serves on the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health. Additionally, she has provided research and recommendations regarding child trauma to the Department of Homeland Security on minimizing trauma for minors. Dr. Giri has practiced medicine for over two decades. On Tuesday, the federal government will ask her about her expert opinion in this case, that speaks to the trauma unaccompanied children endure, especially when they have prior contact with a program like Remain in Mexico. 

Diana Tafur, Supervising Attorney, RAICES: During her decade-plus career as an immigration attorney, Tafur has overseen hundreds of cases affecting immigrant children, and witnessed the ways in which immigrant children impacted by Remain in Mexico have been hurt by the government’s failure to adhere to regulatory protections for unaccompanied children. Her testimony will detail how the government’s enforcement of Remain in Mexico proceedings and removal orders against unaccompanied children denies them protections afforded under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). 

All three experts are available to speak with the media before or after trial. Please contact Joan Agoh at or Alicia Vargas at to arrange an interview. 


Immigrant Defenders Law Center v. Department of Homeland Security challenges the Biden Administration’s practice of denying unaccompanied children previously subjected to the Migrant Protection Protocols program (MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico) their congressionally mandated protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The federal government seeks to continue this dangerous and harmful practice in violation of the TVPRA while skirting both transparency and accountability.

After attempts by the federal government to deny plaintiffs their day in court, the trial comes nearly three years after the initial filing of the lawsuit. 

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Alicia Vargas
Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Joan Agoh
Justice Action Center

Caroline Fatchett
Simpson Thacher

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