Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Indefinite Detention Class-Action Injunction: Reid v. Donelan

May 29, 2014 (3 min read)

"The court, reaffirming its view that § 1226(c) includes a six-month “reasonableness” limitation on the length of no-bail detention, will formally award the class judgment as a matter of law. ... [B]ecause the court possesses jurisdiction to issue class-wide equitable relief and because the relevant factors all suggest that such a remedy is appropriate, an order enjoining Defendants from applying § 1226(c) to the class, detailed in the conclusion of this memorandum, will issue. ... The burden on the executive branch officials to manage our labyrinthine immigration system is heavy. The need to detain certain individuals pending removal cannot be denied.  But, where the government applies a statute without consideration for constitutional guarantees, the rights of vulnerable aliens are at risk. The suggestion that § 1226(c) permits indefinite detention -– for years, in some cases -- without even the opportunity to request bail, ignores the assumption underlying this law, which Justice Kennedy recognized in Demore, that removal occur swiftly and that detention be “reasonable.”  Accordingly, the court hereby ALLOWS Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 123), and Plaintiff’s Motion for Notice of Class Certification (Dkt. No. 95), DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 117), and DENIES as moot Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. No. 96). The court DECLARES as follows:

• As to every class member, the mandatory detention provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), applies only to aliens detained by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) for a “reasonable” period of time –- specifically six months or less.
• As to every class member, an alien who is subject to detention pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) for over six months is entitled to an individual bail determination and a bond hearing before an Immigration Judge as contemplated in § 1226(a).

In accordance with that finding, the court hereby ORDERS the following:

• Defendants shall immediately cease and desist subjecting all current and future class members –- that is, those detainees held under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) beyond six months -- to mandatory detention under that statute.
• Defendants shall immediately determine the custody of every current class member under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) and timely provide a bond hearing to every class member that seeks a redetermination of his or her custody by an Immigration Judge pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.19 & 1236.1(d).
• As individuals enter the class at the six-month mark, Defendants will immediately determine the custody of each individual under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) and provide a bond hearing to every class member that seeks a redetermination of his or her custody by an Immigration Judge pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.19 & 1236.1(d).

• Defendants will provide individual notice of class certification, in both English and Spanish. Notice shall include a description of the class and the names and contact information for all class counsel. Notice may be provided either before, or simultaneously with, the initial bail determination under § 1226(a). Notice must be individually provided to:

• all current class members detained in Massachusetts;
• those who were detained in Massachusetts under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) for over six months without a bail hearing as of February 10, 2014, and have since been transferred out of the Commonwealth; and
• all future class members at the point they enter the class.

• On or before June 30, 2014, Defendants shall provide class counsel with a list of identified class members, including their names and alien numbers, and the facility in which they are detained. 

• On or before July 31, 2014, Defendants shall submit to the court a report detailing the following:
• any custody determinations made for class members, including the dates they were made, the determination, and, if applicable, whether the individual petitioned for a bail redetermination in front of an Immigration Judge;
• any bond hearings held for class members, including the dates they were held and the outcomes of those hearings, including the amounts of any bond set; and,

• the process and criteria by which class members have been identified." - Reid v. Donelan, May 27, 2014.  [ACLU Press Release here.  Hats way off to the lawyers at the ACLU, ACLU of Massachusetts,the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and WilmerHale!]