Court Limits Mandatory Detention Of
Immigrants In California
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[May 17, 2014]
(Reuters) - U.S. immigration
authorities cannot detain without a bail hearing California immigrants
who have been convicted of certain crimes unless the immigrants are
transferred to their custody directly from jail, a judge has ruled.
Under federal law, immigrants who commit crimes including drug
offenses and assault can be deported, even if they are in the
The class-action lawsuit is challenging an element of the practice
of mandatory detention, under which prisoners are not given an
opportunity to argue before a judge that they should be released or
allowed to post bond while fighting deportation.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in an opinion released Thursday
that unless the immigrants are transferred directly from jail or
prison, they must be allowed such a hearing to see whether they
should be held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or
allowed to live in the community.
The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California was part of a case filed by the American Civil Liberties
Union and others in San Francisco. The civil rights organization has
filed similar cases in Washington State and Massachusetts.
"What Immigration and Customs enforcement has been doing is picking
them up based on criminal convictions from long, long ago," said
Julia Mass, an attorney with the ACLU in San Francisco. "Our lawsuit
said the statute only allows mandatory detention when somebody is
brought directly into immigration custody from criminal custody."
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The ruling applies only to cases in California, Mass said.
ICE and its attorney did not immediately respond to a request for
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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