District Judge Rules that ICE Cannot Detain Immigrants for More than 6 Months without A Hearing

The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts recently ordered the Department of Homeland Security to provide Mark Anthony Reid with an immigration bond hearing.  Reid, a long time lawful permanent resident and U.S. Army veteran, has been sitting in immigration jail for over a year without a bond hearing.

Lawyers from the ACLU and pro bono attorneys at Yale Law School filed suit in federal court.  The legal team argued that the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Rodriguez v. Robbins, which held that due process requires bond hearings for immigrant detainees after six months in jail, should be extended beyond the Ninth Circuit.

Reid, who does have an “extensive” criminal history, was taken into custody by ICE on November 13, 2012 after obtaining parole on several drug charges.  Because he had committed crimes outlined in 8 U.S.C. 1226, he was deemed to be not entitled to an individualized bond hearing.  On February 13, 2013, an immigration judge ordered Reid deported and he appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  He filed a motion with the immigration judge to redetermine his eligibility for bond.  The judge concluded that he lacked jurisdiction to revisit bond.

The appeal was successful and the case was sent back to the immigration judge.  The judge again decided that Reid should be deported.  Reid appealed.  His attorneys also filed a petition for habeas corpus on July 1, 2013 to challenge his prolonged immigration detention.

The district court concluded that 8 U.S.C. 1226(c) included a reasonableness limit and that a post-removal order detention of more than 6 months was presumptively invalid.  The court pointed out that the burden on the government to hold a bond is minimal.  Compared to the 14 months that Reid spent in immigration detention, due process required a hearing.