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Federal Court Rules Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Prolonged Detention Of Immigrants Can Go Forward

Publication Date: 
August 20, 2009
eNews Park Forest

A case being handled by the Immigrants' Rights Clinic, led by Professor Jayashri Srikantiah, has been allowed to go forward as a class action:

A federal appeals court in California today ruled that a lawsuit filed on behalf of immigrants who have been detained for more than six months without receiving bond hearings can go forward as a class action. The immigrants are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the ACLU, the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic and the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP.

"This is a huge victory for immigrants who have been held in prolonged, indefinite detention without the most basic element of due process – a hearing to determine if their detention is justified," said Ahilan Arulanantham, Director of Immigrants' Rights and National Security for the ACLU of Southern California, who argued the case before the Ninth Circuit. "There have been many good decisions invalidating prolonged immigration detention in individual instances, but the government has not been following them in other cases. Because the court has allowed the case to go forward as a class action, many detainees – the overwhelming majority of whom lack legal representation – will be able to benefit from the court's final decision."


Lawyers on the case include Rabinovitz and Cecillia D. Wang of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, Arulanantham and Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU of Southern California, Jayashri Srikantiah of the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic, and Steven A. Ellis, William Tran and Brian K. Washington of Sidley Austin LLP.

More information on the case, including the court's opinion and ACLU legal briefs, can be found online at:

The ACLU Web page on prolonged detention of immigrants, "No End in Sight: Immigrants Locked up for Years without Hearings," can be found online at: