Mandatory Detention

The American Civil Liberties Union filed two class-action lawsuits, in Massachusetts and Washington state, challenging the government's overuse of "mandatory detention" to detain non-citizens without bond while their immigration cases are pending. The ACLU brought the cases on behalf of immigration detainees who have been denied the opportunity to ask for their release on bond because of crimes for which they were released from custody months or even many years ago.

The ACLU argues that these people cannot be held in "mandatory detention" and must be given the opportunity to seek their release on bond. To date, two federal judges in Massachusetts have agreed, but the government has not changed its detention practices. As a result, the ACLU believes that more than 50 people in Massachusetts alone continue to be unlawfully detained under this erroneous interpretation of the mandatory detention provision. The new suits ask the federal court to intervene so that people wrongfully detained under this regime can at least be considered for release on bond. This would allow many of them to go home to their families and jobs while their immigration cases are being resolved, if an immigration judge finds that they do not present a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Media

3.14.14

Two more immigrants released on bond after federal judge's ruling
News release

11.20.13

Victory! ACLU immigration client Richard Gordon reunites with his family!
News release

11.5.13

Jailed detainee may get bond
Boston Globe

10.25.13

Living in legal limbo
Worcester Telegram and Gazette

8.15.13

ACLU files suits over 'mandatory detention'
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

8.12.13

Caught by a harsh policy
Worcester Telegram and Gazette

8.9.13

Federal government wrongly incarcerates dozens in Massachusetts jails under "mandatory detention" provision
News release

8.8.13

Locked Up: Class-Action Lawsuits Challenge Mandatory Detention of Immigrants
National ACLU Blog

Documents

Gordon v. Napolitano

Memorandum on Grant of Petition for Habeas Corpus
Judge Ponsor's Order on Petition for Habeas Corpus
Complaint
Motion for Preliminary injunction
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief

Castaneda v. Souza

Order finding that the government's interpretation violated mandatory detention provision