Aleman Gonzalez v. Sessions (Immigration Detention)
In March of 2018, two Bay Area fathers who had been detained for over six months at the Contra Costa West County Detention Facility in Richmond, California sued the federal government in a class action lawsuit challenging their unlawful and prolonged detention. Complaint is here.
On June 5, 2018, a federal judge ruled that people who have been detained under 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(6) cannot be held by the government for more than 180 days without a bond hearing before an immigration judge. She also granted a motion for class certification. The ruling is expected to affect hundreds of people detained throughout the Ninth Circuit.”
Aleman Gonzalez and Gutierrez Sanchez were arrested by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in the Bay Area in the fall of 2017. They are seeking protection in the United States, and asylum officers with the Department of Homeland Security have determined that both men have a reasonable fear of persecution or torture if deported. Because of this determination, the federal government does not have the authority to deport them.
Nevertheless, the government has kept them in detention and refused to provide bond hearings – proceedings where immigration judges determine whether they can be released back to their families and lives. Both Aleman Gonzalez and Gutierrez Sanchez have young U.S. citizen children and are the primary providers for their families.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimate the class size numbers in the hundreds. The class is comprised of people detained throughout the Ninth Circuit who have been or will be detained for six months pursuant to a particular immigration statute and denied a prolonged detention hearing before an immigration judge.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
On April 7, 2020, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an action where Plaintiffs challenged their prolonged detention, the panel affirmed the Northern District Court’s Preliminary Injunction. This requires the Government to provide each class member detained for six months or longer with a bond hearing before an immigration judge where the burden is on the Government to justify continued detention.
The Government filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States on September 4, 2020.