Update in ACLU of Massachusetts class action lawsuit, Calderon v. Nielsen:
In July, after documents obtained in our class action on behalf of people pursuing green cards revealed that ICE was routinely violating its legal duties to people it was detaining, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a motion seeking the release of several detainees. At a hearing on August 27, 2019, the government promised to meaningfully reconsider releasing six individuals, and as a result, the Court decided to hold off on ruling on our motion while the government took time to consider release. Nearly a month later, the government issued decisions declining to release any of them and demonstrating that the meaningful review it promised the Court had not in fact occurred. Last week, we moved for the immediate release of all the affected individuals.
This morning, Judge Mark Wolf issued an order demanding that the at least four ICE officials responsible for the continued detention of the individuals at issue appear in court on October 10 and 11, 2019 to testify. These officials include Marcos Charles, the acting Field Office Director, and three officials representing ICE headquarters. Judge Wolf also ordered that these officials refrain from communicating with each other regarding this case in advance of Thursday and Friday’s hearings.
Adriana Lafaille, staff attorney at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response to the order:
“ICE’s promise to consider releasing these individuals delayed justice for these six separated families. The violations of the regulations that we have uncovered are systemic and far-reaching, and it is time for ICE to account for them. ICE’s actions have deeply harmed the detainees, their U.S. citizen spouses, and their young children. These families simply cannot wait another day.”
The ACLU of Massachusetts, together with law firm WilmerHale, filed the class action lawsuit in April on behalf of five immigrants and their U.S. citizen spouses. The couples are trying to avail themselves of 2016 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations that allowed certain noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens to pursue lawful immigration status while remaining in the United States with their families. The lawsuit alleges that the government has unlawfully arrested, detained, and deported people pursuing the process set out in these regulations.