Get Updates


Feed aggregator

Advocates Denounce @BarackObama for Seeking $2 Billion to Detain & Deport Women & Children on the Border

DWN Blog - July 1, 2014 - 13:30

(See DWN member statement’s below)

Embedded Image by Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times: “A Border Patrol agent, with Alejandro, 8, who traveled by himself across the Rio Grande.”

Detention Watch Network Says White House’s Renewed Policy of Family Detention and Deportation Puts Women and Children at Risk for Political Points on Immigration

In reaction to this weekend’s announcement that the Obama Administration would seek $2 billion from Congress to detain and deport women and children arriving at the border,  member organizations issue the following statements (List in formation: Check back for updates)

Silky Shah, interim executive director of the Detention Watch Network issued the following statement:

With this weekend’s announcement that President Obama will seek more than $2,000,000,000 from Congress to detain and expedite deportations for women and children on the border-  President Obama made clear that he is fully embracing his role as Deporter-in-Chief – detaining more than 478,000 people in 2012 alone. The US has the resources and ability to provide refuge for the families fleeing Central America. Much smaller countries with a fraction of the resources (e.g. Lebanon, Jordan) provide refugee assistance to twice as many migrants as the US. Rather than considering additional funding for expanding detention and increasing deportations Congress should shift funds away from DHS and ICE and provide more resources for refugee assistance for families arriving at the border. Following the announcement late last week that the Obama Administration will be reopening family detention facilities on the border, we are deeply disappointed in the White House’s willingness to sacrifice women and children for political cover in the national immigration debate.

7/9 in #DC: Immigrant Children, Youth & Parents Tell Their Stories of Family Separations

DWN Blog - June 30, 2014 - 09:37

in cooperation with Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Rush Holt

invite you to a conversation with immigrant families

“Since My Mother Left”: Immigrant Children, Youth and Parents Tell Their Stories of Family Separations and Share Dreams of a Better Tomorrow

Kennedy Room, 325 Russell Senate Office Building,

2 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Wednesday July 9th, 2014

11:45 am – 12:45pm

**Light refreshments will be served**

The United States promotes family values, yet these ideals are undermined in the current immigration enforcement system that leaves children without the loving care of their parents. In FY12 over 470,000 immigrants were removed from their families and communities and funneled into the detention and deportation pipeline. Deportations without due process and policies such as the “bed quota”–which makes ICE’s funding contigent on requirement to maintain 34,000 immigrant detention beds each day–contribute to the record-breaking number of families that are torn apart.

  • According to US Customs and Immigration Enforcement, over 200,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported during 2010-2012, leaving tens of thousands of children without at least one of their parents.
  • Every day more than 1,000 immigrants are deported, pulled from their families and communities.
  • Nearly 60% of detention beds are operated by private prison companies that profit from the incarceration of immigrants.

On July 9th, immigrant children and families, who have traveled from New Jersey to Washington, DC, will share how current immigration policies impact their lives and what policies will help them fully realize their dreams.

Speakers include:

  • Jamil Sunsan – a 12 year-old U.S. citizen whose parents & sister were deported to Honduras
  • Kady Cisse – a 23 year- old U.S. citizen whose mother was deported to Cote D’Ivoire in 2003
  • Javier Hernandez – a 17 year-old whose father was deported on June 5, 2014

Please RSVP at or contact Lia Lindsey at

Make sure your members of Congress hear their voices. Contact your representatives today—ask them to be there to listen on July 9.


Detention Watch Network Slams @BarackObama on the Opening of Artesia Family Detention Center

DWN Blog - June 27, 2014 - 20:19

(See statements from DWN member organizations below)

DWN Says WH’s Renewed Policy of Family Detention and Deportation Puts Women and Children at Risk for Political Points on Immigration

Statement from Silky Shah, interim executive director of the Detention Watch Network,  on today’s announcement that the Obama Administration has begun incarcerating families at the Artesia Detention Center, a former law enforcement training facility in New Mexico.

Today, with the announcement of the opening of the Artesia Family Detention Center and plans to expedite deportations for women and children –  President Obama made clear that he is fully embracing his role as Deporter-in-Chief and as the president with the highest rate of immigrant detention in American history, with 478,000 detained in FY 2012 alone.  The White House’s willingness to sacrifice women and children for political cover in the national immigration debate is a new low.   We urge the Administration to immediately halt the renewed use of family detention, a policy that largely ended in 2009 after the decision to stop the detention of children at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Texas.  Families were released from Hutto due to outrage from advocates and policymakers citing abusive and unsanitary conditions, including children wearing prison uniforms, being held in prison cells with open-air toilets, and being threatened with alarming disciplinary tactics, including threats of separation from their parents if they cried too much or played too loudly.  Family detention is inhumane and abusive and should be stopped immediately.

Statements from DWN member organizations:

Updated Events During the 34 Days to #EndTheQuota

DWN Blog - June 25, 2014 - 19:12

TweetUp Friday 6/27 at 2pm EST: Join Twitter discussion on #LGBTQ Rights & How to #EndtheQuota

DWN Blog - June 25, 2014 - 15:51

Participating organizations will be:

Follow the discussion with hashtag #EndTheQuota.

Watch via @EndIsolation: Marcela Castro on being detained at James A Musick Facility in CA

DWN Blog - June 25, 2014 - 11:55

via CIVIC:

CIVIC is excited to release the fourth video in our series, “Detention Stories: Life Inside California’s New Angel Island.”  The purpose of this project is to build public awareness of immigration detention in California and provide people in immigration detention with a platform to tell their stories about their experience in immigration detention.  You can check out the latest video featuring Marcela Castro at the James Musick Facility above.For those of you who attended CIVIC’s retreat, you will remember meeting Marcela Castro, who is featured in this film.

To watch more of CIVIC’s videos, visit If you liked this video, show your support for the project. Donate today at

If you are a visitor volunteer based in California and know a person who is either in immigration detention or who has been released from immigration detention who might be interested in being featured in a video or audio recording, please let us know.

New Toolkit via @WRCommission to Help Immigrant Parents Keep Their Families Together

DWN Blog - June 25, 2014 - 09:15

The Women’s Refugee Commission is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking new publication, Detained or Deported: What about my children? What to do if you can’t be with them

This toolkit is designed to help immigrant parents keep their families together. It is the first-ever comprehensive, nationwide resource to help families who are caught between the immigration and child welfare systems.

The toolkit will also be a valuable resource for attorneys, advocates, family members and others who work with immigrant families. It provides critical information to ensure that family unity and children’s best interests are taken into consideration in immigration, child welfare, and family court decisions.

More than 5,100 children are currently in the U.S. foster care system because a parent has been detained or deported. Some parents have even lost their parental rights, and will likely never see their children again.

Detained and deported parents retain the legal right to make decisions about what happens to their children, even if children are temporarily out of their care. However, practically speaking, logistical barriers, a lack of coordination between the immigration and child welfare systems, and a lack of awareness of undocumented parents’ rights can make it extremely difficult to put families back together once the immigration and child welfare systems are involved.

Detained or Deported: What about my children? guides parents and those who work with them through the steps they need to take to keep children from entering the child welfare system, locate children in that system, comply with a child welfare case plan, participate in family court and make arrangements for children at the conclusion of a parent’s immigration case. It includes information on how to get a lawyer and how to stay in touch with children.

Detained or Deported: What about my children? has been approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for placement in all detention facilities that hold adults for more than 72 hours.

  • An interactive version of the toolkit is available at
  • A printable version of the toolkit is available at
  • For a print copy, contact . Note, supplies are limited.
  • Learn more about the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work on parental rights at

Echa un vistazo a la nueva en infografica sobre la cuota de 34,000 inmigrantes en detención: #NoMásCuota

DWN Blog - June 16, 2014 - 09:12
Haga clic en la imagen para ver la versión más grande (o descargar en PDF aquí):

Estados Unidos tiene la infraestructura para la detención de inmigrantes más grande del mundo y hoy, el gobierno de los EE.UU. encierra y deporta a más inmigrantes que nunca antes. La expansión del sistema se debe en parte a una arbitraria cuota establecida por el Congreso requiriendo el encarcelamiento de 34,000 inmigrantes en cualquier momento dado. La cuota de camas para inmigrantes en detención, que empezó en el 2009, requiere que el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) encierre a un promedio de 34,000 inmigrantes -cerca de medio millón al año-en una red de más de 250 cárceles de condado y estatales, prisiones privadas e instalaciones federales.

Aquí están las versiones recortadas de la imagen para compartir en las redes sociales (haga clic para descargar los tamaños más grandes de la imagen)


via @LatinoAdvocacy1: #FathersDay Fast & Rally at Northwest Detention Center in #Tacoma

DWN Blog - June 13, 2014 - 21:41

Photo from April 2014 Action in Tacoma

MEDIA ADVISORY For immediate release: June 12, 2014

 Contact: Maru Mora Villalpando (206) 251-6658  and Jolinda Stephens (614) 915-4079

WHAT: Rally and Report from the Morning’s People’s Movement Assembly

WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 1 pm

WHERE: Northwest Detention Center, Tacoma, WA

WHO:  Hunger strike leaders, families of those detained in the immigration prison and migration justice groups from around the Pacific Northwest

HIGHLIGHTS: Details of the actions plans developed by local groups in collaboration with detention and migration justice groups in the U. S., Canada, Spain and England; Fathers Day Fast announced.

 About 100 families separated by the deportation machine and groups working to bring justice to the immigration system will meet in Tacoma Saturday morning, June 14. They will be joined via Skype with groups from the U. S. and around the world, including the Detention Watch Network (DC), Conroe TX detention center supporters, No One Is Illegal of Toronto, No CIEs of Valencia and Madrid (Spain), Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. They will share the work they are doing and develop shared strategies to address the crisis facing families torn apart by immigration practices. The rally will include reports from that assembly, as well a music loud enough to be heard inside the immigration prison and phone calls from inside which may announce a new hunger strike.

On the eve of the celebration of family, Fathers’ Day, the rally will support all those separated from their families. “We are doing all of this to make the President understand and to finally do something,” remarked Veronica Noriega, wife of hunger strike leader Ramon Mendoza Pascual. “We would like the President to explain to all of our children why they can’t hug their parents this Fathers’ Day. How would he tell them that he is deporting their parents. Everyone talks about the economy. They talk about the border, but they don’t talk about the children who won’t be able to hug their parents this Fathers’ Day. Enough! Not one more!”

Despite concerted efforts by Geo and ICE to impede organizing, Colectiva de Detenidos NWDC is organizing a Fathers’ Day Fast. We expect to hear from some of those leaders at the rally.

The Peoples Movement Assembly in planning for several weeks is meeting at a politically crucial time. “With the defeat of Cong. Cantor, the President has lost his excuse to delay desperately needed relief for undocumented immigrants. There now remains not one ray of hope that Congress will pass the Senate bill or any version of it for several years,” said Maru Mora Villalpando, one of the assembly organizers. “We cannot wait any longer. The country cannot wait any longer. The great majority of the American people are generous and welcoming to immigrants. It is time for President Obama to act. No more excuses.”


Petition on behalf of Hunger Strikers and latest releases available at:

Fund to support the families of human rights hunger strikers:

via @SEARAC: June 21st vigils for Cambodian families in #Seattle, #Stockton & #DC

DWN Blog - June 13, 2014 - 20:25
via Mari Quenemoen, Policy Manager, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Please join us and our community partners in Stockton, Seattle, and Washington, DC on Saturday, June 21st for simultaneous vigils in support of families of Cambodian former refugees who are facing imminent deportation.  Touch Hak and dozens of others, including two men from the Stockton area, were detained at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center last month and processed for deportation to Cambodia. Please come to show your support for them, their wives, children, parents, and communities who are experiencing deep shock and trauma from these detentions and deportations, and show ICE that AAPI immigrant communities and their allies are standing up in Stockton, Seattle, DC, and across the country against deportation. Stay tuned for event listings.

Watch: Recorded Webinar on How You Can Help #EndtheQuota for Immigration Detention

DWN Blog - June 12, 2014 - 17:30

The expansion of the immigrant detention system is in part due to an arbitrary quota from Congress that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in detention at any given time. The immigration detention bed quota, which started in 2009, requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to lock-up an average of 34,000 immigrants in detention – close to half a million immigrants annually – in a network of over 250 county and state jails, private prisons and federal facilities. In this webinar we explain the very basics of what the detention bed quota is, and the process on how we can eliminate it. We also share information about the End The Quota campaign and ways in which organizations and individuals can get involved.

Watch: #EndTheQuota in House Appropriations Committee Meeting June 11, 2014

DWN Blog - June 11, 2014 - 15:53

In the House Appropriations hearing on the Department of Homeland Security funding, there were a lot of great statements on the bed quota throughout the hearing. Rep. Lowey condemns the bed quota in her opening remarks. Rep. Quigley introduced an amendment to eliminate the quota, and Reps. Honda, Serrano, and Valadao all spoke in favor the amendment. Quigley withdrew the amendment since he knew it wouldn’t pass the committee; however, no one spoke out in opposition to the amendment.

New Infographic to #EndTheQuota for Immigration Detention

DWN Blog - June 11, 2014 - 11:46
Click image to view larger version (or download PDF here):

The United States has the largest immigrant detention infrastructure in the world and today, the U.S. government locks up and deports more immigrants than ever before. The expansion of the system is in part due to an arbitrary quota from Congress that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in detention at any given time. The immigration detention bed quota, which started in 2009, requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to lock-up an average of 34,000 immigrants in detention – close to half a million immigrants annually – in a network of over 250 county and state jails, private prisons and federal facilities.

Here are cropped versions for sharing on social media (click for larger sizes):


New @ACLU report: Warehoused & Forgotten – Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow #PrivatePrisons System

DWN Blog - June 10, 2014 - 09:13

via Carl Takei, Staff Attorney, National Prison Project, American Civil Liberties Union

I am very pleased to announce a new report by the ACLU and ACLU of Texas, “Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private-Prison System” (June 2014).  Every year, the federal Bureau of Prisons subjects tens of thousands of immigrants to lengthy prison sentences simply for unlawfully crossing the border. These nonviolent immigrants are hidden in a shadow system of privately run Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons. Our a multi-year investigation of the five CAR prisons in Texas uncovered evidence of abysmal conditions, families torn apart, and the excessive use of isolated confinement. For too long, CAR facilities have operated in the shadows, effectively free from public scrutiny.  That ends now.

See the report and other materials summarizing our findings online at:

Please read and share links widely.  Also, if you have Twitter, we are using the hashtag #CARabuse to promote the report.  Some suggested tweets:
*        New ACLU, ACLU TX report on BOP’s warehousing of immigrants in a shadow for-profit prison system #CARabuse
*        New ACLU, ACLU TX report: “the symbol of everything wrong w/ criminalizing #immigration and #massincarceration #CARabuse

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the report!

34 Days to End the 34,000 Quota! / 34 días para eliminar la cuota!

DWN Blog - June 9, 2014 - 14:13

Click for larger image to download

The next 34 days are critical in our collective efforts to end the 34,000 immigrant detention quota. Sign-up today to get involved during the 34 Days to End The Quota.

During the month of June, the House of Representatives will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bill, which includes the detention bed quota. In the meantime, 34,000 immigrants continue to be locked-up at any given time in detention and thousands of families and communities continue to be torn apart. Now is the time to ADVOCATE, EDUCATE and ORGANIZE to #EndTheQuota. From watching and sharing the End The Quota video, and signing-up to host an event or action in your community, to calling and meeting with your members of Congress, we need all hands on deck! Now is the time to act and stop the arbitrary quota that keeps thousands of immigrants behind jail walls.

Here are 6 things you can do to End The Quota: 
  1. Join DWN’s End The Quota webinar, this Thursday, June 12th at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Register here.
  2. Hold educational events, community forums or teach-ins about the immigration detention system and the impact of the 34,000 detention bed quota on our communities. For educational materials and resources go here.
  3. Call and/or visit your members of Congress and ask them to eliminate the immigration detention bed quota from the FY 2015 appropriations bill.  Ask your Representative to vote for the Deutch-Foster amendment that strikes the quota language from the bill. For advocacy materials go here.
  4. Organize an action, or vigil outside a detention center, ICE office or congressional member’s office. Contact Catalina Nieto for support.
  5. Write an op-ed or letter to the editor about the impact of the quota in your community. For sample talking points go here.
  6. Share End The Quota action alerts, videos, infographics, posters, and fact sheets viaFacebookTwitter, Instagram, e-mail, and blogs.
For more info or to get involved contact Catalina Nieto at ————————– Los próximos 34 días son cruciales para nuestros esfuerzos colectivos por eliminar la cuota de 34,000 camas para inmigrantes en detención. Inscríbete hoy mismo y participa en la campaña 34 Días para Eliminar la Cuota.

Durante el mes de junio, la Cámara de Representantes del Congreso estará votando la ley de asignaciones presupuestarias para el año 2015 la cual incluye una cuota para camas en detención. Mientras tanto, se sigue encerrando a 34,000 inmigrantes en cualquier momento dado y miles de familias y comunidades continúan siendo destrozadas. Ahora es el momento para ABOGAR, EDUCAR y ORGANIZARSE para #EndtheQuota, #NoMásCuota.

Desde ver y compartir el video para Eliminar la Cuotaapuntarte para organizar un evento o acción en tu comunidad o llamar y reunirte con tus representantes en el Congreso-¡necesitamos la ayuda de todos!  Es el momento de actuar y acabar con esa arbitraria cuota que mantiene a miles de inmigrantes tras las rejas de una cárcel.

A continuación te sugerimos 6 cosas que Tú puedes hacer para Eliminar la Cuota:
  1. Unirte al webinar de DWN sobre Eliminar la Cuota, este jueves, 12 de junio a las 2:00p.m. hora este. Inscríbete aquí.
  2. Organizar eventos educativos, foros comunitarios o talleres acerca del sistema de detención de inmigrantes y el impacto que tiene la cuota de 34,000 camas sobre nuestras comunidades.Para ver y descargar material educativo y recursos de referencia haz clic aquí.
  3. Llamar o visitar a los miembros del Congreso y pedirles que eliminen la cuota de camas para inmigrantes en detención de la ley de asignaciones del año fiscal 2015. Pídele a tu representante que vote por la enmienda DeutchFoster que anulara el lenguaje sobre la cuota de detención de la ley de asignaciones. Para ver materiales de defensoría legislativa haz clic aquí.
  4. Organizar una acción o vigilia afuera de un centro de detención, de las oficinas del Servicio de Inmigración o de la oficina de un congresista. comunícate con Catalina Nieto si necesitas apoyo.
  5. Escribir una nota de opinión o una carta al editor acerca del impacto de la cuota en tu comunidad. Para ver ejemplos de los puntos a tratar dirígete aquí.
  6. Comparte boletines, videos, afiches, infográficas y material de referencia acerca de la campaña para Eliminar la Cuota a través de FacebookTwitter, Instagram, por correo electrónico o en blogs.
Para mayor información comunícate con Catalina Nieto a:

Watch via @HRW: “Don’t Call 911″ – Immigrant crime victims in Nashville, TN discuss #SComm

DWN Blog - June 4, 2014 - 11:36

via Human Rights Watch:

The use of state and local authorities to enforce US immigration laws undermines public safety by raising fear of the police among immigrant communities. States and cities across the United States should separate community police work from federal immigration enforcement.

The 3:44-minute video, which contains accounts from immigrant crime victims in Nashville, Tennessee, illustrates that the federal Secure Communities program, which enlists local law enforcement throughout the country in federal efforts to identify immigrants eligible for deportation, makes immigrants afraid to report crimes to the police. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 on similar fears of law enforcement among female farmworkers who are survivors of sexual assault.

Watch more here.

via @ACLU: Immigrants Held Indefinitely Without a Hearing? Another Court Says No

DWN Blog - May 28, 2014 - 14:40

Written by Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU

The more judges who scrutinize the United States’ broken immigration enforcement system, the more and more they’re yelling, “Stop.”

A federal district court in Massachusetts yesterday ordered the government to end its practice of putting immigrants in long-term lock up without ever providing them the basic due process of a bond hearing. As a result, immigrants in Massachusetts subjected to six months of mandatory imprisonment can now seek a hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether they should stay in jail or be allowed to go home to their families and communities.

The ruling in Reid v. Donelan puts the brakes on one of the most draconian and unforgiving aspects of our immigration enforcement system.

Mandatory detention laws enacted by Congress in 1996 require the authorities to hold a person in jail if the government decides to pursue a deportation case based on his past crimes. That’s the case even if the person’s crimes were minor and nonviolent – like shoplifting or marijuana possession – and took place more than a decade ago. And it doesn’t even matter if the person has since rehabilitated himself and become a model member of society. To make matters worse, the government insists that the immigrant’s detention is required for as long as it takes for his case to be decided – even if that process takes months or years. This requirement even applies if it’s clear that the immigrant’s going to win his case and be legally permitted to stay in the country.

Take the case of Alejandro Rodriguez, a Mexican national who has been in the United States since he was a baby. He was detained for more than three years without a meaningful hearing over his imprisonment. Prior to his detention, Rodriguez lived near his extended family in Los Angeles, working as a dental assistant to support his two U.S. citizen children. His claim against removal hinged on whether he could be deported for two non-violent convictions—joyriding when he was 19, and a misdemeanor drug possession when he was 24. Rodriguez was denied release by ICE on the basis of administrative file custody reviews in which ICE rejected his requests for release based entirely on a written questionnaire, without even interviewing him. After Rodriguez filed a habeas petition in district court—but before the petition was adjudicated—ICE released him on his own recognizance, revealing that the agency had never considered him a flight risk or danger to the community. He remained released on conditions of supervision without incident until he won his immigration case. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Fortunately, the courts are listening to Rodriguez and others like him. Yesterday’s ruling joins a chorus of federal courts holding that such long-term detention without a bond hearing is unlawful and builds upon the ACLU’s landmark victory in Rodriguez v. Robbins, a class action lawsuit that won bond hearings after six months for detainees throughout the Ninth Circuit last spring.

These courts recognize a basic principle: In America, no one should be held in long-term jail without a hearing to determine if he or she needs to be locked up in the first place. As the Obama administration completes its review of its immigration enforcement policies, it should adopt the rulings of Reid and Rodriguez nationwide and provide bond hearings to all immigrant detainees after no more than six months of detention.

Only a nationwide rule will ensure due process truly applies to all across America.

via @ACLU: Coast to Coast, Federal Courts Say NO to Mandatory Lock-up of Immigrants

DWN Blog - May 22, 2014 - 15:12

Written by Eunice Lee, Detention Attorney, ACLU, Immigrants’ Rights Project and reposted from ACLU blog:

The tide is turning against U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE)’s policy of picking up our community members and locking them away without a hearing.

Coast to coast, federal courts are saying “no” to this unjust and irrational practice.

Yesterday, a federal judge in an ACLU case ordered ICE to “immediately cease and desist” its unlawful practice of denying a bond hearing to people detained throughout Massachusetts based on crimes that are typically minor – like shoplifting or drug possession – and that occurred years ago. Judge Ponsor ruled that immigrants who are picked up by ICE after returning to their lives, their families, their jobs, and their communities must be given a chance to ask an immigration judge for their release. He explained, “An individual’s right to the due process is not eradicated simply because he or she has been convicted of a crime at some point in his or her life.”

Our Massachusetts victory comes on the heels of another ACLU class action win on the other side of the country. Last week in Preap v. Holder, Judge Gonzales Rogers required ICE to give bond hearings to people picked up by ICE in their communities throughout the state of California.

And before that in another ACLU case, Khoury v. Asher, a judge reached the same conclusion for community members in western Washington state. There, too, ICE must now stop picking up people in their workplaces and homes and putting them in no-bond detention.

Under our immigration laws, lock-up without a bond hearing applies only to a narrow group of people who are taken in by ICE immediately after serving sentences for certain crimes. ICE, however, unlawfully applies this draconian form of detention to people picked up months or years after the fact. It thus locked away Richard Clayton Gordon—the lead plaintiff in our Massachusetts case and a U.S. army veteran—for a single stale drug conviction.

That conviction is now six years old.

At the time ICE encountered Mr. Gordon, he had returned to his family, gotten engaged, had a child, bought a house, and started plans to build a halfway house for his community. He also had no subsequent run-ins with the law whatsoever. And yet, ICE still put him in jail and denied him a bond hearing.

Fortunately, thanks to ACLU’s victories, immigrants picked up by ICE in their communities must now be given the basic due process of a bond hearing. There, they can ask an immigration judge to decide whether they ever needed to be locked up in the first place. If the answer is no, the immigration judge must – and in Mr. Gordon’s case did – order their release from unnecessary and unfair ICE detention.

It’s a shame that it took a federal lawsuit to secure Mr. Gordon’s release. People like him simply shouldn’t be locked away without first seeing a judge – a cornerstone of our democracy. Now in Washington, California, and Massachusetts, they can’t be. It’s time for the Obama administration to listen to the courts as well as to its conscience and end its unlawful practice nationwide.