Federal Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Must Be Given Bond Hearings (Khoury v. Asher)

Federal Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Must Be Given Bond Hearings (Khoury v. Asher)

"A federal court ruled late yesterday that a class of immigrants detained at the Tacoma-based Northwest Detention Center must be given bond hearings. The court’s decision comes at the same time that hundreds of immigrant detainees are participating in a hunger strike at the facility. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones also denied defendants' motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought on behalf of immigrant detainees by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union, with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw.

"The court’s ruling recognizes what is at stake, the anguish and hardship caused by being locked up for months," said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. "A bond hearing is not a free ticket out of jail. But at least a person has the right to present their case. That is all they are seeking, a fair shot."

The complaint charges that the defendants – the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security – kept the class members locked up without even the opportunity for a bond hearing, where an immigration judge could determine whether they presented a flight risk or a danger to the community.

In the ruling, Judge Jones said it was clear that many of the detainees presented "no risk to their communities and no risk of flight, because some of them have been living in this country for decades and have families and careers. What the government thinks about a law that locks away peaceable family members without release, the court can only guess."" - NWIRP, Mar. 12, 2014.