Fighting Mandatory Detention in Immigration Cases

There is a watershed legal battle proceeding in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the Court below the United States Supreme Court). My firm represents one party- a 21 year old green card holder who has lived in the United States since the age of eight years old.  When my client was 17, he committed a crime and served a few months in jail as a result.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“I.C.E.”) knocked on his door and arrested him a few months ago. I.C.E. arrested and detained him four years after he was released from jail.

My client’s family prepared and I submitted letters of support to the Immigration Judge. Despite the following facts: my client owns a successful business, my client pays taxes, my client is enrolled in community college, my client lives with his family and drives his nephew to school everyday, the Immigration Judge held that he is subject to “mandatory detention”. Mandatory detention means that my client is unable to be released from detention for the duration of his removal proceeding.

The Immigration Judge held that my client is subject to mandatory detention because he was picked up “when released” from jail. In fact, my client was detained four years after being released from jail. However, the Immigration Judge held that the term “when released” can mean at anytime in the future. This is illogical. If I asked you to walk my dog and you replied, “sure,  I will walk him when I am finished with lunch” . I would expect you to walk my dog after you were finished with lunch and not four years after you were finished with lunch.

After the Immigration Judge refused to release my client, I drafted, edited, and filed a federal writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court. The Federal Court judge agreed with me and my client was released.

I.C.E. appealed the Federal Court judge’s ruling. They want to ensure that many detainees are subject to mandatory detention. This would mean many more immigrants would pick to be quickly deported than fight for their right to stay here because fighting would mean remaining in jail. Immigration jail is far worse than criminal jail because the immigrants are shackled for a longer time period than in criminal jail.

The second goal is for the client to remain in the United States for the rest of his life. I will cover this topic in a future blog post.

Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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