Who are we?
This project is a partnership of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) and the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the New York University School of Law (IRC).
What is this website about?
This website highlights the many problems with the U.S. government’s long-term detention of people in immigration detention without giving them a day in court. It presents an annotated version of an amicus brief, co-written by IRC and the Immigrant Defense Project, for the case Jennings v. Rodriguez that will be heard by the Supreme Court this term. The stories in this annotated brief underscore the devastating impact of long-term detention on people held in detention and their families. For a more detailed explanation of the case, see here.
What is an “amicus” brief?
An amicus curiae (Latin for “friend of the court”; plural, amici curiae) is a person or group who is not a party to a legal case, but who offers information relevant to the case to the court by submitting a legal document called an “amicus brief.”
The amici curiae on this brief are 58 community groups, immigrant rights organizations, law clinics, and legal service providers whose members and clients face the severe consequences of prolonged detention without bond hearings. Descriptions of each of the amici curiae are below.
Description of amici curiae
Americans for Immigrant Justice (“AI Justice”), formerly Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, is a non-profit law firm dedicated to promoting and protecting the basic rights of immigrants. AI Justice is dedicated to advancing and defending the rights of immigrants in detention.
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (“BAJI”) is a national organization that organizes, advocates, and raises awareness around issues facing Black immigrants, including immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere, in the United States. For over a decade BAJI has engaged Black communities to advance the interests of immigrants facing detention and deportation.
The Boston College Law School Immigration Clinic (“BC Immigration Clinic”) is a clinical program of Boston College Law School. The BC Immigration Clinic regularly represents clients who are detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”); in these cases, students represent clients both in their removal proceedings and bond hearings. As such, the BC Immigration Clinic has an interest in ensuring that more detainees are entitled to a bond hearing and that the procedures used in such bond hearings are fair and adequately protect detainees’ liberty interests.
Boston University’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (“IRC”) is a law school clinic that provides direct representation to immigrants in removal proceedings, including individuals who face detention without bond pending removal proceedings. IRC has held legal orientation projects within immigrant detention centers and has a longstanding interest in promoting the rights of immigrants in detention.
The Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program of the University of Louisville School of Law works actively with the local community, non-profits and stakeholders in the community to advance the human rights of immigrants, refugees and noncitizens.
Founded in 1997, the Bronx Defenders provides innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, removal defense, family defense, social work support and other civil legal services and advocacy to indigent Bronx residents. Under the New York Immigrant
Family Unity Project, we represent over 330 detained non-citizens every year and witness the adverse impact of prolonged detention on our clients, their ability to pursue legal claims to stay in this country, and their families.
Brooklyn Defender Services (“BDS”) is a public defender organization that represents more than 45,000 people every year who cannot afford an attorney in criminal, family, and immigration proceedings. Since 2013, BDS has provided removal defense services through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, New York’s first-in-the-nation appointed counsel program for detained New Yorkers facing removal who cannot afford an attorney. BDS represents Alexander Lora, the petitioner in Lora v. Shanahan, 804 F.3d 601 (2d Cir. 2015) in his removal proceedings, and represented him before the federal district court and circuit court.
The Center for Community Change (“CCC”) is a national not-for-profit organization that works to empower low-income people, particularly in communities of color, to make change that improves our communities and public policy. CCC has a longstanding history of advancing and defending the rights of immigrants. CCC coordinates the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a network of 42 member organizations in 33 states, working to keep families together and fix our nation’s broken immigration system. As part of this work, we have encountered countless numbers of immigrant community members who have had their lives ripped apart because of prolonged detention. We have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact detention has on immigrant families.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (“CCR”) is a national non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and international human rights law. Founded in 1966, CCR has a long history of litigating cases on behalf of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources, including numerous landmark civil and human rights cases fighting for racial and immigrant justice and protection from indefinite detention and solitary confinement.
The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (“CGRS”) at the University of California Hastings College of the Law works to protect the fundamental human rights of asylum seekers, with a particular focus on expanding protection for women, children, and LGBT individuals. CGRS has played a central role in the development of law and policy related to asylum seekers, including on detention and enforcement issues.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (“CHIRLA”) is a non-profit organization with local and state presence in California, and national recognition. Our mission is to advance the human, civil rights, and full integration of New Americans and their children into the fabric of our society.
Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (“CIVIC”) is the national immigration detention visitation network, which is working to end U.S. immigration detention by monitoring human rights abuses, elevating stories, building community-based alternatives to detention, and advocating for system change. CIVIC has a longstanding interest in this Court’s decision and has been advocating for years against the lengthy detention of noncitizens held in pre-removal immigration detention in the United States. See, e.g., Rethinking Pre-removal Immigration Detention in the United States: Lessons from Europe and Proposals for Reform, Oxford University Press – Refugee Survey Quarterly (2012) 31 (3):69-100, doi:10.1093/rsq/hds007, available at http://tinyurl.com/hds007.
Community Justice Clinic of the University at Buffalo School of Law (“CJC”) is a law school clinic that represents immigrants, including individuals who are subject to the mandatory detention provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. CJC also represents and works with immigrant-led organizations with members who have been subject to prolonged detention.
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (“CLSEPA”) is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to low-income immigrants in and around East Palo Alto, California, where two-thirds of the population is Latino or Pacific Islander. The immigration team provides consultations to and represents local residents in various types of immigration benefits and proceedings, including detained and non-detained removal proceedings in immigration court.
The Criminal/Immigration Defense Clinic at Colorado Law School is a law clinic that represents indigent clients charged with misdemeanor offenses in Boulder County, CO. We have witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of prolonged detention on immigrants while they pursue their ability to remain in the U.S. with their families.
The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, through its Refugee and Human Rights clinical program, is a law-school based clinic in which law students represent immigrants fleeing human rights abuses who wish to remain in the U.S. The clinic regularly represents immigrants who face detention and are seeking asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, special immigrant juvenile status, protection under the Violence Against Women Act or adjustment of status. We are intimately familiar with the adverse impact prolonged detention has on an immigrant’s ability to defend against removal.
As a national coalition of organizations and individuals concerned about the impact of immigration detention on individuals and communities in the United States, Detention Watch Network (“DWN”) has a substantial interest in the outcome of this litigation. Founded in 1997, DWN has worked for nearly two decades to fight abuses in detention, and to push for a drastic reduction in the reliance on detention as a tool for immigration enforcement. Since 2011, through its advocacy and organizing work, DWN has been advocating for the elimination of all laws mandating the detention of immigrants.
Dolores Street Community Services (“DSCS”) provides pro bono removal defense to low-income immigrants in San Francisco, CA, specializing in representing particularly vulnerable clients. DSCS clients have suffered the severe consequences of prolonged detention; some clients have accepted removal orders despite fears of persecution and other compelling claims for relief, simply because they could no longer endure detention. Other clients have experienced the incalculable benefits of an individualized custody determination, often released on their own recognizance or minimal bond after six months of unreviewed custody.
El Centro del Inmigrante is a not-for-profit organization. We have been advocating for immigrant rights for the last 10 years. We focus mainly in providing services to low income immigrant families supporting them with applications for Citizenship, DACA and other immigration benefits. Part of our efforts is to find permanent remedies for our broken immigration system. We believe that prolonged detentions without bond are serious violations of basic human rights.
The Immigrant and Human Rights Clinic engages in both direct legal services to non-citizens as well as legal advocacy projects. Students represent clients in removal proceedings in both the detained and non-detained setting and conduct know your rights presentations for detainees.
The Florida Institutional Legal Services Project of Florida Legal Services (“FILS Project”) is dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of indigent people in state and federal custody in Florida by providing high quality legal services. For years, we have engaged in monitoring, advocacy, and litigation regarding conditions of detention for immigrant detainees in Florida, including in very remote contracted county jails and at Krome, the large immigrant detention facility in Miami, Florida.
Georgia Detention Watch is a coalition of organizations and individuals that advocates alongside immigrants to end the inhumane and unjust detention and law enforcement policies and practices directed against immigrant communities in our state. Our coalition includes activists, community organizers, persons of faith, lawyers, and many more.
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (“GLAHR”) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to build the capacity and power of immigrant communities. For more than a decade, GLAHR has dedicated its efforts to community organizing to defend and advance the civil and human rights of immigrants regardless of their immigration status.
Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention. Grassroots Leadership has long advocated for community-based alternatives to detention, particularly for vulnerable populations including asylum-seeking women and families. We have also witnessed the impact of prolonged detention on migrants and their families after they have been released from detention and as they attempt to integrate into the community.
Immigrant Defense Project (“IDP”) is a not-for-profit legal resource and training center dedicated to promoting fundamental fairness for immigrants accused and convicted of crimes. IDP provides defense attorneys, immigration attorneys, immigrants, and judges with expert legal advice, publications, and training on issues involving the interplay between criminal and immigration law.
Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”) is the country’s first immigration legal fellowship program. IJC seeks to expand access to counsel by increasing the quantity of immigration lawyers and the quality of the immigration bar. IJC’s fellows regularly represent detained noncitizens and have seen the impact of long-term detention on their clients’ well-being and their ability to pursue relief.
Immigrant Rights Clinic of Washington Square Legal Services, Inc. (“IRC”) is a law clinic that represents and works with immigrants and immigrant rights organizations, including individuals who face detention without bond pending removal proceedings. IRC has a longstanding interest in advancing and defending the rights of immigrants in detention.
Immigrants’ Rights Clinic of Morningside Heights Legal Services, Inc. (“IRC”) is a law clinic that represents immigrants, including individuals in detention. IRC is committed to advocating on behalf of and advancing the rights of immigrants in detention.
Immigration Clinic of the University of Miami School of Law is a law clinic that advocates on behalf of immigrants in a wide variety of administrative and federal court immigration proceedings and collaborates with immigrant rights groups on projects to advance the cause of social justice for immigrants. Many of the clinic’s clients are detained. The clinic has challenged the lawfulness of the prolonged detention of its clients in U.S. District Court and appeared as counsel for amici curiae in Sopo v. U.S. Atty Gen., 825 F.3d 1199 (2016).
The Irish International Immigrant Center (“IIIC”) is a multi-service welcome center for immigrants of all nationalities, based in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally founded in 1989 to serve the needs of Irish immigrants in the New England area, the IIIC now annually provides immigration, education, and social services to thousands of immigrants from around the world.
The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (“IJC”) is a law clinic that represents individuals facing deportation, as well as community-based organizations, in both public policy and litigation efforts. IJC has a long-established interest in fighting for the rights of immigrants pursuing their ability to remain in the U.S., including representing people who face detention without bond pending removal proceedings.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF is a national not-for-profit civil rights legal defense fund which has defended the constitutional rights, civil rights and the equal protection of all Latinos under law. Since 1972, PRLDEF’s mission has been to promote civic participation, to cultivate Latino leaders, and to promote voting rights, employment opportunity, language rights, educational access, and immigrants’ rights.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) is a non-profit legal services and social justice organization that works in partnership with the private bar to protect and advance the rights and status of people of color, low-income communities, and immigrants and refugees through direct legal services, impact litigation, and policy advocacy. As part of LCCR’s core commitment to protecting the rights of asylum seekers, it has a strong interest in preventing the harmful effects of prolonged detention on noncitizens and their ability to fairly defend themselves in removal proceedings.
The Legal Aid Society of New York was founded in 1876 to serve New York’s immigrant community and is the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit law firm for low-income persons. For several decades, Legal Aid has maintained an Immigration Law Unit (“ILU”) within its Civil Practice. The ILU has an expertise in representing immigrants at the intersection of criminal and immigration law and has also represented, and served as amicus on behalf of, immigrants seeking release from prolonged and mandatory detention in habeas and other federal court proceedings.
The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Clinic has operated an Immigration Clinic for decades. Louisiana is home to three major immigration detention centers and has a growing population of immigrants. Our Immigration Clinic has been providing assistance to people in the Deep South outside of Louisiana as well.
Make the Road New York (“MRNY”) is a nonprofit, membership-based community organization that integrates adult and youth education, legal and survival services, and community and civic engagement, in a holistic approach to help low-income New Yorkers improve their lives and neighborhoods. MRNY is at the forefront of numerous initiatives to analyze, develop, and improve civil and human rights for immigrant communities, including issues related to detention and deportation of immigrant communities.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (“NDLON”) is a national non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of day laborers and immigrant communities. NDLON advocates for the rights of people facing immigration detention, including those who have experienced prolonged detention.
The National Immigration Law Center (“NILC”) is the primary national organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. Over the past 35 years, NILC has won landmark legal decisions, including Orantes-Hernandez v. Smith, that have sought to protect fundamental due process rights for all individuals, regardless of immigration status.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (“NLIRH”) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the health, dignity, and justice for the 28 million Latinas, their families, and their communities in the United States. NLIRH has a longstanding history of working to ensure fair treatment of women, children, and families, irrespective of legal status. As part of its work, it recognizes the direct impact immigration status has on access to reproductive health care. The deprivation of rights, family disruption, inadequate access to health care, loss of livelihood, re-traumatization and abuse that are inherent to conditions of confinement, are only exacerbated through prolonged detention.
Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem (“NDS”) is a public defense organization that represents non-citizens who are arrested in New York City. Specifically, the Immigration Practice represents non-citizens in removal proceedings, including individuals who are held in immigration detention without bond.
The New York Immigration Coalition (“NYIC”) is an advocacy and policy umbrella organization for more than 175 multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-sector groups across the state. Through its members and its own advocacy the NYIC has long worked against unjust immigration policies, including the use of detention against immigrants.
Pangea Legal Services (“Pangea”) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for immigrants in deportation proceedings through legal representation, community empowerment, and policy advocacy. The impact of prolonged detention for Pangea’s clients is stark: it has resulted in a loss of employment, loss of custody by mothers over their minor children, traumatized children who experience loss of a parent, loss of health, reliving traumas of being held captive in detention after escaping abusive captivity abroad, eviction from the home, and homelessness by immediate relatives of detained immigrants.
Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building. We work with communities pushed forward by the struggle – to strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. We build relationships with organizations and networks across the U.S. and global South to inform our local work and to engage in bottom-up movement building for social and economic justice. Our legal and advocacy work is focused on defending Muslim and immigrant communities against discrimination.
Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel’s primary goals are to: (1) protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children; (2) represent immigrant victims of torture, persecution, domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; and (3) foster economic justice by providing underserved communities with access to quality legal representation. In support of these goals, Public Counsel represents indigent immigrants from around the world in their claims before the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the federal courts. These include many detainees who have suffered the adverse impact of prolonged detention.
Queens Law Associates – Public Defenders (“QLA”) is a nonprofit legal service provider representing low-income individuals – some of whom are noncitizens – facing criminal charges in the criminal justice system. QLA also provides free legal services to noncitizens in their immigration matters, including representation in deportation proceedings. QLA has a direct interest in this case, as its clients may be subject to mandatory detention provisions based on convictions and may be detained by ICE for prolonged periods.
Weekly since 2009, the Reformed Church of Highland Park has visited detainees at the Elizabeth Detention Center. We assist asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, people with final orders of deportation, and migrants without status. We support children in our congregation whose parents have been deported. We have cared for unaccompanied minors, DACA-eligible and DAPA-hopeful individuals, and immigrant victims of domestic violence. We work to reunite families. We resettle refugees through Interfaith RISE (Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment), a program of our congregation’s nonprofit community development agency, Churches Improving Communities.
The Seton Hall University School of Law Center for Social Justice (“CSJ”) empowers law students to gain critical, hands-on experience while providing pro bono legal services for low-income residents in the region. The Center has long worked to defend the statutory, constitutional, and human rights of immigrants.
The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (“SEARAC”) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities who came to this country as the largest group of refugees ever resettled in the U.S. Due to outdated immigration laws passed in 1996 mandating the automatic detention and removal of immigrants with old criminal convictions without due process, almost 16,000 community members have received final orders of deportation since 1998. Many of these individuals have been subjected to mandatory and prolonged detention, due to complex repatriation agreements between the U.S. and Southeast Asian governments. SEARAC has been an outspoken advocate in the movement to strengthen protections for all immigrants and refugees who suffer prolonged detention as a result of our broken immigration system.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”) fights all forms of discrimination and works to protect society’s most vulnerable members through litigation, education, and monitoring organizations that promote hate. The SPLC provides pro bono assistance to and advocates on behalf of immigrant detainees throughout the southern United States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The University of California, Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic (“The Clinic”) is an academic institution dedicated to defending the rights of detained noncitizens in the United States. The Clinic provides direct representation to detained immigrants who are placed in removal proceedings.
The University of California, Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic is a law clinic providing pro bono legal services to immigrants in removal proceedings. The Clinic also partners with community and legal advocacy organizations on policy and litigation projects to advance immigrants’ rights and immigrant workers’ rights. For several years, clinic students working under the supervision of faculty attorneys have represented immigrants detained at the Adelanto Detention Center and Orange County, CA facilities in their bond hearings.
The University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic advocates on behalf of immigrants in a broad range of complex legal proceedings before the immigration and federal courts and the Department of Homeland Security. The Clinic collaborates with other immigrant and human rights groups on projects that advance the cause of social justice for immigrants.
The University of Maryland Carey School of Law Immigration Clinic represents individuals in immigration removal proceedings, including individuals who are detained without bond. The Clinic represents individuals who are subject to mandatory detention, many of whom end up being detained for prolonged periods of time.
The Immigrant Rights Project is a clinical program of the University of Tulsa College of Law. The program aims to help address a significant need for legal representation and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable immigrants in our community. Clinic students and faculty have participated in a range of advocacy projects involving asylum seekers and other immigrant detainees in detention centers in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
UnLocal, Inc. (“UnLocal”) is an immigration legal services and community education non-profit based in New York City. UnLocal provides presentations on immigration law, know your rights trainings, and legal consultations at community-based spaces including schools, workplaces, places of worship and other immigrant-serving organizations. UnLocal clients and the membership of many of UnLocal’s community-based partners include individuals who have faced detention without bond during the pendency of their removal proceedings.
The Valparaiso Immigration Clinic (“VIC”) is a law clinic at Valparaiso University Law School that represents immigrants in Northwest Indiana and Chicago, including individuals who have been held in immigration detention. VIC students have also assisted with case intake for immigrant detainees, provided community outreach in Northwest Indiana concerning immigrant rights issues, and represented immigrant rights organizations that work with immigrant detainees.
The Washington and Lee University School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic provides free legal services to non-citizens in removal proceedings in Virginia. Many of our clients are detained in the immigrant detention facility in Farmville, VA, which is the primary detention facility in Virginia, housing between 600-700 non-citizens.
The Washington Defender Association (“WDA”) is a statewide non-profit organization whose membership is comprised of public defender agencies, indigent defenders and those who are committed to seeing improvements in indigent defense. In 1999, WDA established WDA’s Immigration Project to give the Washington defense bar access to expert immigration law resources in order to effectively represent their noncitizen clients with regard to the immigration consequences at stake in their criminal cases. Detention issues are a vital part of the immigration consequence of a conviction, and can radically affect access to counsel and case outcomes.
This website was created by Rachel Levenson and Terry Ding, with the invaluable assistance of Skylar Jessen. They conducted this work as student advocates in the New York University School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, in partnership with Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement.