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Rodriguez v. Robbins - 715 F.3d 1127 (9th Cir. 2013)


An alien facing prolonged detention under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1231(a)(6) is entitled to a bond hearing before an immigration judge and is entitled to be released from detention unless the government establishes that the alien poses a risk of flight or a danger to the community. Importantly, an "alien's continuing detention becomes prolonged" at the 180-day mark. The risk of an erroneous deprivation of liberty in the absence of a hearing before a neutral decisionmaker is substantial.


Alejandro Rodriguez, Abdirizak Aden Farah, Jose Farias Cornejo, Yussuf Abdikadir, and Abel Perez Ruelas ("Appellees") are the named plaintiffs representing a certified class of non-citizens who challenge their prolonged detention, pursuant to certain federal immigration statutes, without individualized bond hearings and determinations to justify their continued detention. The district court entered a preliminary injunction requiring the government to identify all class members detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(c) and 1225(b) (the "1226(c) subclass" and "1225(b)subclass," respectively), and to "provide each of them with a bond hearing before an Immigration Judge with power to grant their release." Under the preliminary injunction, at the conclusion of each bond hearing, the Immigration Judge ("IJ") "shall release each Subclass member on reasonable conditions of supervision, including electronic monitoring if necessary, unless the government shows by clear and convincing evidence that continued detention is justified based on his or her danger to the community or risk of flight." The government appealed.


Did the district court abuse its discretion by granting a preliminary injunction in favor of a certified class of non-citizens who challenged their prolonged detentions?




To determine whether the district court abused its discretion, the court considered in turn: appellees' likelihood of success on the merits, whether they have established a likelihood of irreparable harm, the balance of equities, and where the public interest lies. These factors favored appellees. Inter alia, the court found that appellees were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that § 1225(b) must be construed to authorize only six months of mandatory detention, after which detention is authorized by § 1226(a) and a bond hearing is required.

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