Immigrants Held in Detention in Ninth Circuit While Awaiting or Contesting Removal Must Receive Bond Hearing After 180 Days, Court Rules

June 5, 2018 California District Court grants motions for class certification and preliminary injunction in case involving lengthy detentions of noncitizens in the United States.

By , J.D.


Noncitizens of the U.S. who have final orders of removal and are being held in detention by immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE (specifically, under U.S.C. § 1231(a)(6) or INA § 241(a)(6)) while awaiting further action (such as a court decision on whether to reopen the case) face potentially long waits across the United States. Although the normal time period for removal is 90 days, this section of the law allows people to be held longer due to having committed certain crimes, being considered a flight risk, or based on various other grounds.

Detainees who live in the jurisdiction of the federal Ninth Circuit, however, have a new opportunity to get before a judge sooner rather than later.

In a class-action case called Aleman Gonzalez v. Sessions, a group of immigrants asked the Ninth Circuit court (in the Northern District of California) to enjoin (block) the government from denying custody redetermination and bond hearings to anyone detained under the above-mentioned section of the law after having been held for 180 days or more.

The court granted what's called a preliminary injunction in favor of the class of plaintiffs. Although any permanent measures will have to await further hearings, this is good news for detainees in the short term. ICE is expected to begin requesting the affected courts to schedule bond hearings. Affected detainees should not have to file a motion or anything else.

Nevertheless,your attorney if you have one (and this would a very good time to get one) can also submit a request on your behalf to schedule a prompt bond hearing, including in certain situations where you were previously denied such a hearing, or if you are now nearing 180 days of detention.

Effective Date: June 5, 2018