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San Diego ACLU sues to stop months-long detentions

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2017 | Immigration Detention

The American Civil Liberties Union is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual rights. The San Diego branch of the organization recently announced that it is suing the federal government for denying due process rights to immigrants who are detained for months before appearances in front of immigrantion judges.

A senior staff attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties said people charged with crimes typically go before judges within 48 hours while immigrants who are not charged with crimes are routinely detained for two months or more before a court hearing.

The lawsuit that was filed in federal court against the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security asks the court to stop long detentions prior to immigrantion hearings.

“If the government is going to deprive someone of their liberty, they need to be given some fair process,” ACLU senior attorney Bardis Vakili said. “And locking them up and throwing away the key for two or three months or longer is hardly a fair process.”

Both the DOJ and Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Vakili said the ACLU anticipates increases in detention durations under new policies enacted by the Trump administration, such as the end to catch and release.

“The situation will get a lot worse if the court doesn’t step in now and say there’s a requirement here that you must present them quickly to a judge,” he said.

Approximately 1,500 people are being detained in the San Diego and Imperial counties facilities, the lawsuit states.

To discuss detention defense with an experienced attorney, contact the San Diego Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar.