Guide to File a Pro Se Habeas Petition for People Detained by ICE in the Golden State Annex and Mesa Verde Detention Facilities

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This guide is designed to assist people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Golden State Annex and Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facilities who do not have a lawyer to complete and file a “petition for writ of habeas corpus.” “Habeas corpus” is a right protected by the Constitution and by federal statute that allows individuals to challenge their detention or imprisonment as unlawful.

If you answer “Yes” to the following three questions, this guide is designed to assist you to challenge your detention by ICE and to request a bond hearing in front of an Immigration Judge:

  1. Have you been detained without a bond hearing for more than six months?
  2. Are your removal proceedings are still pending before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals or a United States Circuit Court of Appeals?;
  3. Has the Immigration Judge told you or ruled that you are ineligible for a bond hearing, or that the Immigration Judge does not have jurisdiction to grant you bond, (a) because of your criminal history, OR (b) because you came to the United States seeking asylum and have been classified as an “arriving alien” on your Notice to Appear?

If you answered “Yes” to each of these three questions AND you have not had a bond hearing in Immigration Court in the last six months, you may be able to file a habeas petition using this guide to request a bond hearing in front of an Immigration Judge.
Please note that unlike immigration decisions, habeas proceedings and decisions are NOT confidential. Information you put into the habeas petition may become publicly accessible.

Prepared templates of the legal documents are available in this pro se habeas packet, and printable instructions are available here.

This Pro Se Habeas Packet has been created by immigration and immigrants' rights advocates in northern California, including the ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal), Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ). The guide is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. It was last updated in December 2023.

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