Police Indefinite Detention of Immigrants Ruled Violation of Due Process

Raymondville, UNITED STATES: A guard locks a gate inside Homeland Security's Willacy Detention Center, a facility with 10 giant tents that can house up to 2000 detained illegal immigrants, 10 May 2007 in Raymondville, Texas. The 65 million USD facility was constructed as part of Secure Border Initative last July and now where many of the former "catch and release" illegals are detained for processing. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)


A judge has ruled that continued detention of a immigrants who are lawful permanent residents is a crime and violation of due process. This groundbreaking decision challenges years of law enforcement practices towards foreign born U.S. residents.

The ruling came after a man who is challenging his removal from the United States for an old drug charge claimed that the move violated his due process. Now, a federal judge has ruled that he was right.

Southern District Judge John Koeltl ruled that Dean Gordon, the man who was held in custody since he was arrested by immigration agents back in June 2014, has to be released immediately or given a bond hearing during his contest of a removal order that was handed down by an immigration judge who wanted him out of the country.

Gordon, 32, had a victimless-crime conviction from 2005 when he was arrested for selling marijuana. Gordon is from Jamaica originally but has been in the U.S. since he was a little kid. Now he has two children of his own – both U.S. born – ages 5 and 4. Kicking him out of the country essentially kicks them out of the country too, as he is their primary care giver.

Ironically, Gordon was indefinitely detained after trying to leave court after a minor traffic ticket hearing. The hearing was on June 26, 2014, in Brooklyn Criminal Court. But immigration agents blocked him, prevented him from leaving. They then handcuffed him and placed him under arrest. They told him that his old conviction was grounds for being kicked out of the country.

The decision was made final by Immigration Judge Thomas Mulligan, who also denied Gordon a bond hearing.

But that decision was overturned by Judge Koeltl who said “the government has made no showing that Mr. Gordon’s continued mandatory detention is reasonable.”

This indefinite detention could not be justified as the state made no move to arrange the new trial that he called for, “nor is there any evidence that Mr. Gordon’s removal proceedings will end soon.”

“Moreover, it would it would be unreasonable to penalize Mr. Gordon for exercising his right to challenge removal by requiring him to be detained while he exercises that right, even though such detention is unnecessary to further the purposes of detention—namely preventing danger to the community and risk of flight,” he added.

The judge concluded that “Gordon has every incentive to challenge his removability, which he cannot do if he flees.”

As such, the judge ordered him released immediately.


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