Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Class Certified on behalf of Detainees with Mental Disabilities

From the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project:

A federal judge has approved a request by NWIRP and our partners (below) to represent a group (class) of immigrants with mental disabilities who are held in immigration detention facilities and are facing deportation proceedings. Currently, immigrants do not receive a right to an appointed attorney in a deportation case, even if they have a severe mental disability. Through this class action lawsuit, NWIRP and our partners are working to vindicate the rights of immigrant detainees with mental disabilities who are facing deportation without an attorney. We are hoping to ensure that these individuals are provided with at least the minimum meaningful protections when the government is seeking to deport them from the country.

"The most important aspect of the ruling granting class certification is that we are now in a position to address this problem on a systemic level," said Matt Adams, Legal Director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. "People with severe mental disabilities who are locked up in immigration detention are ground through this system without even understanding what is happening to them. We can now focus on fighting for the right to counsel so that they receive a fair hearing." See the official press release here.

NWIRP thanks our partners on this case: ACLU of Southern California, Sullivan & Cromwell, Public Counsel, Mental Health Advocacy Services Inc., the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and the ACLU of Arizona.

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