Thursday, December 12, 2013
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus ("Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus") and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC), with co-counsel Keker Van Nest LLP, have filed a statewide class action lawsuit to challenge the current federal policy of detaining certain immigrants without giving them the opportunity to prove they pose no flight risk or danger to the public. The advocates urge that immigrants are entitled to go before an immigration judge to request release while they fight their deportation cases.
Many immigrants are being caught in a vast bureaucratic dragnet. The sheer arbitrariness is breathtaking and the needless suffering must be stopped." said Jon Streeter, lead counsel on the case for Keker & Van Nest. "What is perhaps most troubling is the Department of Homeland Security's policy is in clear contravention of the letter of the law. This case spotlights these practices, which are quietly devastating hundreds of immigrant families."
Named plaintiff Eduardo Vega Padilla is one of the many in California being detained without due process. Mr. Padilla came to the United States from Mexico in 1966 and received his green card before he turned two. During a difficult period in his life over a decade ago, Mr. Padilla was convicted of two non-violent, victimless crimes with potential immigration consequences. He was released from custody in 2002 and cleaned up his life to focus on taking care of his family, including providing primary financial support for his elderly mother, pregnant daughter, and grandson. On August 15, 2013-over ten years after the last time he was in criminal custody-immigration agents arrived at Mr. Padilla's home and arrested him on civil immigration charges. He is now detained in the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Sacramento County without any opportunity to go before a judge to be considered for release on bond. Mr. Padilla, like other immigrants represented in the case, has a past conviction that potentially could result in deportation. The lawsuit proposes that Mr. Padilla and others like him should have the opportunity to make an individualized case against their unconditional detention.