Ming Cheung

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project
  • Sponsored by Fish & Richardson P.C., Microsoft Corporation
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Ming will fight for the release of immigrant children from federal detention by using a combination of impact litigation and direct representation.

An unprecedented number of immigrant children have sought refuge at the United States’¬†southern border. Instead of placing those children with families in the United States while their immigration cases are adjudicated, the federal government has been unnecessarily detaining thousands of children in facilities across the country. Many of those children were forcibly separated from their families by the federal government. As a result of prolonged separation and detention, children frequently suffer from symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, including suicidal ideation; some children are even abused by the staff members responsible for their care. Because of the proliferation of unlawful policies prolonging detention for thousands of children, there is a dire need for impact litigation challenging those practices at a systemic level.

Ming is committed to protecting the rights of immigrant children because of his own experience immigrating to the United States as a child. After spending several years apart from his family during his childhood, he became the first in his family to graduate college and attend law school. Ming hopes to use his legal training to empower others who do not have access to the opportunities he and his family had.

Fellowship Plans

Ming will help detained children and their families apply for release from federal custody, with a focus on identifying the policies that contribute to unnecessary detention. He will then design impact litigation to challenge unlawful practices and ensure the prompt release of immigrant children nationally. Ming will also research alternatives to federal custody, such as by involving child welfare agencies at the state level.

The unlawful detention of children and families fleeing persecution and violence is inflicting generational harm on thousands of future Americans. Rather than compounding their trauma, we should be helping immigrants build new lives.

Ming Cheung /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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