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Landmark Win for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic team was thrilled to receive news last week of a significant U.S. District Court victory requiring the U.S. government to give bond hearings to immigrant detainees.

In Rodriguez v. Robbins, U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter issued a permanent injunction requiring the government to give automatic bond hearings as soon as immigrant detainees have been held for six months to determine if they should continue being detained.  The Clinic — along with co-counsel from the ACLU and Sidley Austin, LLP — have been litigating the case for six years.  Former clinic students Eli Miller, Erin Mohan, Mark Baller, Kimere Kimball, and Michael Kaufman worked on the case.

The ruling follows the Ninth Circuit’s decision affirming a preliminary injunction issued by Hatter late last year. The judge has now held that all immigration detainees held in the Central District of California with pending deportation cases are entitled to a bond hearing at six months, and that such hearings include heightened procedural protections to ensure the hearings are fair.

The Clinic and its co-counsel filed Rodriguez on behalf of the hundreds of immigrants whom the government has imprisoned for more than six months in the Los Angeles area while their deportation cases are being decided. The suit sought the most basic procedural right for detained immigrants – a right to a hearing where they can argue for release on bond. The case has been pending since 2008 and has been extensively litigated, including in two different Ninth Circuit appeals.

The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is directed by Professor Jayashri Srikantiah.  Lisa Weissman-Ward has recently joined the team as Clinical Supervising Attorney and Lecturer in Law, and will be co-teaching the clinic.  Legal support is provided by Allie Thrall.

Congratulations to all!

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