Two human rights advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice claiming the agency has illegally detained three men after court hearings determined they could not be deported.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia and Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition said in the suit that the men could not be deported because they faced legitimate threats of torture or death if they were to return to their home countries. However, ICE has continued to keep them detained for months after their court hearings, the groups claim.
“Continuing to hold our clients in detention for no good reason violates the Constitution, immigration law, and ICE’s own policy,” CAIR lawyer Austin Rose said in a statement.
ICE’s policy would be to release the men if no other suitable country for deportation could be found. The agency is looking for an alternate country to deport the men, but they do not have any connections elsewhere, the suit claims.
“Petitioners’ continued detention is arbitrary and unlawful, and they request that this Court order their immediate release from ICE custody,” the suit states. “ICE’s half-hearted attempts to remove Petitioners to a random collection of alternative countries — to which they have no ties, and which have no policy or history of accepting non- citizen deportees — are speculative and futile.”
Two of the men are from El Salvador and the third is from Honduras. They were each granted “deferral from removal” status, preventing them from being deported, earlier this year.
Over a dozen people have been unlawfully detained by the ICE Washington Field Office for at least three months after they were granted deferral status, the suit says.
“ICE’s longstanding release policy – followed by many ICE offices throughout the country – conforms with the constitutional protections against indefinite and arbitrary detentions,” the advocacy groups said in a statement. “But the failure of ICE’s Virginia office to follow that policy ignores these important protections.”
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Source: The Hill