There may be good news in the works for California immigrants who are detained by immigration authorities. Faced with the possibility of deportation and removal proceedings, immigrants who are preparing to fight their deportations may soon be released on bond. A California federal judge requested that government officials hold hearings for detained immigrants in order to see if they should be given bond on a case-by-case basis.
This could help immigrants who have been detained by immigrations officials for a period of six months or longer. The preliminary injunction can be viewed as a way to ensure that immigrants are not left languishing in a jail cell while awaiting deportation and removal proceedings. As a result of the judge's action, a hearing will soon be scheduled to determine if detained immigrants could be released while awaiting hearings in their individual cases.
Current federal law mandates that immigrants be detained if they are deemed a flight risk, pose a danger to the community, or if they are charged with crimes serious enough to warrant mandatory detention. However, immigrants involved in civil cases do not appear to have the same rights as those detained on serious criminal offenses. Many times they are not taken before a judge to see if they can receive bond, and so they end up being detained for long periods of time. The judge's ruling could ensure that immigrants are not detained for long periods without having their cases reviewed by a court. Detained immigrants have no entitlement to receive a court-appointed attorney and often cannot access legal help, even when seeking asylum in the United States.
Deportation and removal proceedings can be overwhelming for detained immigrants in California, including those who are held on minor law violations as well as those who are in the country illegally. This federal judge's ruling could allow immigrants the ability to be released as they attempt to fight the charges against them. In addition, this type of legal change could be viewed as a positive step towards ensuring that immigrants in this country are treated fairly.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Good news for detained immigrants," Sandra Hernandez, Sept. 15, 2012