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Immigration Law

ICE, Detention, COVID & GEO: Zepeda Rivas v. Jennings

CA9, Feb. 18, 2021, Zepeda Rivas v. Jennings

"Plaintiffs, civil immigration detainees housed at Mesa Verde Detention Facility and Yuba County Jail (collectively, the Facilities), filed a class petition for writ of habeas corpus, and a class complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief. Plaintiffs alleged the conditions of confinement at the Facilities violated their Fifth Amendment right to due process in light of the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a series of orders, the district court established a system to consider individual bail applications and subsequently issued multiple bail orders granting indefinite release to over 130 detainees. The defendants first filed an interlocutory appeal challenging the temporary restraining order entered April 29, 2020, the bail orders issued thereunder, and the preliminary injunction entered June 9, 2020. Defendants separately appealed additional bail orders issued after the preliminary injunction. This memorandum disposition resolves certain threshold issues presented in these appeals and is accompanied by a separate order referring the remaining issues to mediation. Here, we conclude that we have jurisdiction to review the April 29, 2020 temporary restraining order, the June 9, 2020 order granting preliminary injunction, and the bail orders; that plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on their claim that conditions at the Facilities fell below a constitutional minimum at least as of the time the temporary restraining order was entered; and that, contrary to the government’s argument, district courts have authority to enter injunctive relief to remedy unconstitutional conditions of confinement, including overcrowding that poses health dangers, under certain circumstances."