Immigration Detention

Cesar Chavarria with his wife Kelly

Cesar Chavarria and his wife Kelly learned they were expecting their first child on the day that Cesar was put into immigration detention. Thanks to ACLU litigation, Cesar was released from detention and returned to his family in March 2014, in time for their daughter’s arrival.

The ACLU of Massachusetts is fighting to ensure that noncitizens who are placed in immigration proceedings receive a fair and individual determination of whether detention during their removal proceedings is warranted. The ACLU has challenged the government’s application of “mandatory” immigration detention and the adequacy of the procedures used to determine whether noncitizens will be detained or released during their immigration proceedings. Here are some examples:

In Gordon v. Johnson, the ACLU and its partners obtained a class action ruling making more than 100 Massachusetts detainees a year eligible for individual bond hearings. The federal district court’s ruling allows dozens of noncitizens every year to be released from detention and remain with their families while their immigration cases are resolved. Although a panel of the First Circuit upheld the legal basis for the district court’s ruling, the full Court granted the government’s petition for rehearing en banc. The case is currently pending before the First Circuit. As of January 2015, more than 50 people have been released from immigration detention under a court order in Gordon.

In Castaneda v. Souza, the ACLU successfully argued as amicus that the government had improperly subjected Leiticia Castaneda to detention without an individual bond hearing. The case resulted in Ms. Castaneda’s release. It is on appeal in the First Circuit.

In Lavrinenko v. Horgan, the ACLU challenged the adequacy of procedures that justified our client’s two-year detention during the pendency of his immigration case. Mr. Lavrinenko was released on bond before the resolution of his detention claim at the First Circuit.

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