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9th Circuit Hears Cases On Detention

Publication Date: 
January 08, 2008
Daily Journal
Sandra Hernandez

The Daily Journal ran this coverage of arguments in a detention case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Immigrants' Rights Clinic worked on the case, and Jayashri Srikantiah, the clinic director, helped American Civil Liberties Union lawyers argue that under the Constitution, the government cannot detain immigrants without basic due process protections. The Daily Journal reports:

In a long and often-spirited exchange, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Monday in a case involving the prolonged detention of four immigrants, including one man who has spent six years locked up.

The case involves whether the Department of Homeland Security can keep immigrants who are appealing their cases in federal court detained pending that appeal.

In November 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union filed federal lawsuits on behalf of four men who were being held, including two at a San Pedro detention facility, while their cases were pending before a federal appeals court. At that time, the immigrants had spent between 20 months and five years in detention, but none had received a bond hearing.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. ordered the government to hold a bond hearing. Some of the men were later released. Their cases are pending in federal court, and a stay barring their deportation remains in place.


The Bush administration appealed Hatter's ruling.


Lawyers for the immigrants asked the court to uphold Hatter's ruling because it is unconstitutional for immigrants to be held for more than six months without a hearing before an immigration judge.

"To say someone is preventing their removal by filing an appeal is unconstitutional," said Judy Rabinovitz, a senior attorney with the ACLU's Immigrant Rights Project who is representing the men along with the ACLU of Southern California and Stanford Law School's immigration clinic.