Wayzaro "Tazz" Walton's wife, Tamika Ferguson, and their 15-year-old daughter.

Matthew Segal, legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response to the release of another detained Calderon v. Nielsen class member:

“After months of tremendous advocacy by activists and attorneys in Connecticut, the ACLU is thrilled that Wayzaro Walton will be reunited with her family and community—just in time for the holiday season. While it is encouraging that seven New England families torn apart by New England detentions have been reunited through the Calderon case since last month, we remain concerned about the violations of law that kept them apart. We will continue to hold the Trump administration accountable when it disregards the law and the rights of our class members."

Background:

The ACLU of Massachusetts, together with law firm WilmerHale and immigration attorney Kathleen Gillespie, filed this class action lawsuit in April 2018 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 allow 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.

In May 2019, a federal judge granted class certification, extending the impact of the lawsuit to hundreds or thousands of New England citizens and their noncitizen spouses.

In July 2019, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a motion seeking the release of several detained class members based on systemic violations of regulations that govern detention after a final order of removal. After hearings in August and an October hearing at which an ICE headquarters official testified that reviews conducted after six-months of detention fail to comply with regulatory requirements in every case, six detained class members were released and reunited with their families.

On November 27, 2019, the ACLU of Massachusetts and WilmerHale secured the release of Wayzaro Walton, a Calderon class member that the government failed to identify to Petitioner’s counsel. Ms. Walton’s detention violated the same regulations at issue in the August and October hearings.

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