Federal Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Must Be Given Bond Hearings

March 12, 2014


Matt Adams, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, 206-957-8611, matt@nwirp.org
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, 212-549-2666; media@aclu.org

SEATTLE – A federal court ruled late yesterday that a class of immigrants detained at the Tacoma-based Northwest Detention Center must be given bond hearings. The court’s decision comes at the same time that hundreds of immigrant detainees are participating in a hunger strike at the facility. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones also denied defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought on behalf of immigrant detainees by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union, with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw.

Robert Pauw said: “It makes no sense for ICE to lock up – without bond – people who have been living peacefully and productively in our community.  That is just what this administration has been doing.  Hopefully the court’s ruling will put an end to this inhumane practice.”

“The court’s ruling recognizes what is at stake, the anguish and hardship caused by being locked up for months,” said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “A bond hearing is not a free ticket out of jail. But at least a person has the right to present their case. That is all they are seeking, a fair shot.”

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Detained immigrants must have bond hearings, judge rules

The Seattle Times


A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government cannot keep certain immigrants locked up at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma without granting them a bond hearing.

The Department of Homeland Security routinely detain immigrants it apprehends for months, sometimes years –in one case a decade — after those people have resolved their criminal cases in state court and are released back into their communities.

While immigration officials begin proceedings to deport them, they are unjustly denied a hearing before an immigration judge who could determine whether they present a flight risk or a danger to the community, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ruled late Tuesday.

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Reminder: Deadline for Requesting Reopening of DOMA-Based Denials Is March 31, 2014

Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, USCIS issues a series of FAQs explaining how the change in law would impact future applications and petitions for immigration benefits based on marriages between same-sex couples, as well as the treatment of cases that were denied prior to the change in law.

AILA Liaison reminds members of the March 31, 2014 deadline for requesting that USCIS reopen a petition or application based on a marriage between same-sex couples that was denied prior to February 23, 2011. To request reopening, send an e-mail to USCIS at USCIS-626@uscis.dhs.gov and note that you believe the petition was denied on the basis of DOMA section 3.