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Federal Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Must Be Given Bond Hearings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2014

Contact:

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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Ninth Circuit Finds Limited Review for Expedited Removal Orders

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that there is jurisdiction to review the merits of a challenge to an “expedited removal order”.  Smith v. CBP, ___ F.3d ____, 2014 WL 91915 (Jan, 9, 2014).  Although the court ultimately rejected the petitioner’s merits argument, the case opens the door to future challenges by other individuals with different facts.

Under the “expedited removal” process, 8 U.S.C. §1225(b)(1)(A), an immigration officer at the border can issue an expedited order of removal against certain noncitizens applying  to enter.   This can be done immediately, while the person is at the border, and is completely at the discretion of the immigration officer if the officer believes that the person has made a false statement or does not have the proper immigration documents.  The applicant is turned away and is also banished from coming back to the United States for five years.

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