immigrant detention centers

Immigrant Indefinite Detention Case to be Heard by U.S. Supreme Court

By Peek & Toland on February 19, 2018

The issue of immigrant indefinite detention has occupied plenty of time in the federal courts.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would re-hear a case considering whether immigrants who were detained by the government have a right to a bond hearing to challenge their indefinite detention.

A report on NPR noted the case was originally argued in Nov. 2016. That was six months before Justice Neil Gorsuch filled the vacant seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia.

NPR reported this case has significant implications for legal permanent residents who the government is seeking to deport because they committed crimes. It also has an impact on asylum seekers who are seeking a court date after surrendering themselves at the U.S. border.

Attorneys and advocates acting for the immigrants claim many of them have the right to be free on bail until their case is heard.

The case sees David Jennings, a California-based field office director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California go up against Alejandro Rodriguez a legal permanent resident, who came to the U.S. as a child and worked here as a dental assistant.

High court looks at immigrant indefinite detention

Supreme Court to consider immigrant indefinite detention

Rodriguez was convicted of joyriding when he was a teenager. At the age of 24, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Green card holders are not guaranteed the same protections from deportation as U.S. citizens. Committing a crime can lead to your loss of permanent residency, we note on our website.

The Rodriguez case is drawn out. More than a decade ago, in 2004, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement began deportation proceedings against Rodriguez. The dental assistant was detained for three years without being afforded the right to appear before a judge to ask for bond.

Rodriguez’s case was taken up by The American Civil Liberties Union. A class action lawsuit was filed. It was successful and Rodriguez won his release. He remained in the United States.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that immigrant detainees and asylum seekers cannot be detained indefinitely. They have a right to a bond hearing every six months.

The appellate court held that to hold these detainees, the government must make a case that immigrants would pose a danger or be a flight risk if they were released.

The Obama administration appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. It insisted that Congress rather than the courts has the power to make immigration law.

The federal government is arguing the law allows the government to detain “criminal and terrorist aliens” as well as aliens who are seeking admission to the United States.

The administration argues detained immigrants should not be recognized as a class with the capacity to bring legal action. Justice Department lawyers said detainees instead should rely on individual habeas corpus petitions to challenge detentions.

The ACLU is contesting this approach. It argues that few detainees have access to legal representation and a backlog of these habeas corpus petitions means major delays in securing release.

Immigrant indefinite detention has become one of the key battlegrounds of the immigration debate. If you or a family member is concerned about a detention matter, please call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Trump Administration Considers the Expansion of Immigration Detention Centers

By Peek & Toland on April 6, 2017

The setting up and growth of immigrant detention centers was one of the most controversial parts of former president Barack Obama’s immigration policy.

His successor Donald Trump is considering an expansion of the centers.

In January, The Hill reported Trump’s transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security about the agency’s ability to expand the use of its immigrant detention centers.

The report was originally sourced from Reuters. It said the team requested a large dossier of immigration information including details of the aerial surveillance effort. This program was set up by Obama in 2010. The aerial surveillance was intended to apprehend drug trafficking and illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexican border. It was later discontinued by Obama.

Reuters reported the requests were made at a meeting on Dec. 5 between immigration officials and the transition team.

Immigrant detention centers may be expanded

The team was also reported to be seeking information about the feasibility of building a border wall.

Trump made the building of a border wall a centerpiece of his election campaign. He said he would make Mexico pays. He later suggested U.S. taxpayers would pay but he would force Mexico to reimburse them.

Mexico has consistently stated it will never finance a wall. Many prominent politicians said they are concerned about the cost.

The United States Has More than 180 Immigrant Detention Centers

The United States has as many as 180 immigrant detention centers, reports NOLO. Texas houses some of these facilities. Typically, they are in rural areas far away from cities.

There are government-run and private centers. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lists 21 of its facilities in Texas.

The centers are controversial.  Typically, families are broken up with men and women being housed separately. Some centers have immigration courts and asylum offices inside their perimeters.

Detention Watch Network says the United States already has the largest immigrant detention center network in the world. It says in 2013, about 441,000 people were detained in a “sprawling system.”

ICE is required to maintain at least 34,000 detention beds at any one time. It relies on a network of county jails and private facilities, states Detention Watch Network.

The network’s Expose and Close report in 2012 listed alleged poor conditions at many of these facilities including inadequate access to medical care and legal counsel.

The controversy over indefinite detention in these facilities was challenged in the case of Jennings v. Rodriguez in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. The case concerned mandatory bond hearings for immigrants facing deportation hearings.

As well as looking at data on immigration detention centers, Trump’s transition team demanded all executive orders and directives sent to immigration officials by the Obama administration.

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to deport every undocumented immigrant in the country.

He softened his tone in December when he said he would immediately focus deportations on up to 3 million illegal immigrants with criminal records.

His timetable would necessitate an expansion of immigrant detention facilities in the United States.

This is a time of extreme uncertainty for undocumented immigrants. If you are facing detention and deportation, we can help you. Call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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