Sunday, August 21, 2011

Class Action Challenges Shackling of Immigrant Detainees in Immigration Court

Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC), the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Lawyers' Committee), and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR) filed a class action suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) on behalf of adult immigration detainees, all of whom appear in immigration court shackled at the wrists, waist, and ankles, regardless of their history or capacity for disruption.

Click here for a L.A. Times story about the suit.

Needless to say, this is not the first time that the U.S. government has been sued on a class action basis about immigration detention. See, e.g., here, here. Indeed, DHS has seen a flurry of lawsuits just this month. The class action detention suits are reminiscent of the many suits brought in the 1980s, including the case of Orantes-Hernandez v. Thornburgh (9th Cir. 1990), which challenged the mass detention of Central Americans fleeing the horrific political violence of their homeland. Many of teh lawsuits were successful and effectively restructructed the process and procedure, as well as notifications, of asylum applicants in detention.


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