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AILA Doc. No. 18121703 | Dated April 11, 2020
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a temporary restraining order, given the COVID-19 pandemic, granting relief to individuals detained in Adelanto ICE Processing Center, which can house up to 1,900 individuals, through April 25, 2020, and asked the government to show cause by April 20, 2020, as to why the judge should not convert this order into a preliminary injunction. (Torres, et al. v. DHS, et al., 4/11/20)
For more information, check out the press release sent out by ACLU Southern California, In Light of COVID-19, Court Overturns ICE’s Policies That Had Blocked Detainee/Lawyer Communication at Adelanto, and this Los Angeles Times article, Judge rules ICE must allow detainees free, private calls with attorneys during pandemic.
The plaintiffs seek temporary emergency relief to ensure that immigration detainees at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center have basic access to counsel during the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, the federal government is proceeding with Adelanto detainees’ immigration cases, including bond hearings at which their liberty is at stake and final merits hearings at which they may be ordered deported. Defendants have nonetheless instituted polices related to COVID-19 that effectively prevent any in-person visitation. These policies compound the serious pre-existing barriers that unlawfully restrict Adelanto detainees’ access to the outside world—including Defendants’ limits on access to outgoing telephone calls, prohibition on incoming legal calls, prohibitively expensive phone rates, and denial of confidential calls—that have made it effectively impossible for legal counsel and detainees to prepare for these critical hearings. Plaintiffs, having learned of these policies on March 21 and March 24, 2020, now therefore seek emergency relief from this Court.
On October 24, 2019, the district court denied the majority of the defendants’ motion to dismiss in Torres.
The American Civil Liberties Foundation of Sothern California, the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School, and the Sidley Austin law firm on behalf of three named plaintiffs, AILA, and the Immigrant Defenders Law Center filed a U.S. District Court complaint against ICE, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the private prison operator Geo Group, Inc., challenging barriers to communicating with counsel at three detention facilities in southern California: Theo Lacy, Adelanto, and Musick. (Torres, et al., v. DHS, et al., 12/14/18)
This action seeks to end the unlawful and unconstitutional barriers to attorney access and attorney-client communication for detained noncitizens in Southern California. Defendants Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the Geo Group, Inc. (“GEO”), and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (“OCSD”) (collectively, “Defendants”) incarcerate thousands of noncitizens in this District contesting deportation in civil administrative proceedings. Defendants ICE and GEO confine these individuals in a private prison located in Adelanto, California, the Adelanto ICE Processing Center (“Adelanto”). Defendants ICE and the OCSD confine noncitizens in two jails in Orange County—the Theo Lacy Facility (“Theo Lacy”) and the James A. Musick Facility (“Musick”) (together with Adelanto, “the immigration detention facilities”).
This class action challenges Defendants’ unlawfully restrictive telephone, visitation, and mail policies and practices. Defendants’ policies and practices violate detained noncitizens’ rights under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Defendants’ policies and practices also violate Attorney Plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech, expression, and association. But for these policies and practices, many detained noncitizens would be able to successfully challenge their removal and/or understand and protect their civil rights.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18121703.
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