Asylum Seekers File Class Action Lawsuit Over Indefinite Detention

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana have teamed up to file a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Trump administration, alleging that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) categorically has denied release to individuals who have presented themselves lawfully at official points of entry seeking asylum in the U.S. Although DHS policy requires the release of asylum seekers if they are able to establish their identities and that they are neither dangers nor flight risks, DHS nonetheless has categorically denied parole across the board to asylum-seekers, instead confining them in prisons in remote areas of Alabama and Louisiana.

Less than ten years ago, about 90 percent of asylum seekers meeting the legal requirements for parole were released pending their asylum proceedings in immigration court. In contrast, the New Orleans Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office granted parole in 76 percent of cases in 2016 and 22 percent of cases in 2017. By 2018, this office granted parole to individuals in only two out of 130 cases, or less than two percent; the other 128 individuals remained in ICE custody.

The lawsuit also attacks the well-publicized dehumanizing conditions that exist in many for-profit immigration detention facilities. Given the high denial rates of parole for asylum-seekers in Louisiana, immigration advocates find it unsurprising that ICE has dramatically expanded its capacity to detain immigrants in Louisiana by entering into contracts with for-profit prison providers and busing in hundreds of asylum-seekers from other faraway points of entry.

Asylum Seekers File Class Action Lawsuit Over Indefinite Detention

This is the second lawsuit of its kind. Immigration advocacy groups filed a similar lawsuit in March 2018, making the same claims about ICE field offices in Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Newark, and Philadelphia. Last year, a federal judge ordered ICE to follow its own policies in granting parole to asylum-seekers. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

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