If you’ve been following the news in recent months you may have noticed that there has been a considerable amount of debate surrounding US immigration detention centers. According to the Global Detention Project which monitors and investigates worldwide immigration detention, the United States has the largest immigration detention infrastructure in the world. The US utilizes detention centers around the country for the purpose of holding immigrants for a wide variety of reasons. A person may be sent to immigration detention if he is found to be undocumented, if he has been convicted of committing a crime, alleged to have committed a crime, or even if he is an asylum seeker or unaccompanied minor. These centers are intended to be humane holding centers where immigrants can stay while details of their legal case are determined. Unfortunately, they are oftentimes anything but humane. The debate surrounding US immigration detention is based mostly on the conditions of these centers as well as the justifications for utilizing them. There are widespread allegations of human rights violations of immigrants being held in detention, with a clear lack of due process and oftentimes little access to legal counsel. Additionally, while these centers are primarily geared towards holding so-called “criminal aliens,” a vast portion of those held in immigration detention have no criminal record and have not even been charged with a crime. Worse yet, many prisons in the US double as immigration detention centers, and non-criminal immigrants may find themselves sharing the same facilities as convicted felons serving jail time. The duration of detention can also be a serious issue. A 2009 investigation by the Associated Press showed that over half of the aliens held in immigration detention at that time had no criminal record, and of those non-criminal detainees, over 400 had been held for at least one year, over a dozen for at least three years, and one individual had been incarcerated for over five years. Fortunately, if you reside in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Federal Judicial Circuit, which includes California, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Oregon, and Guam, there is a potential relief measure you can utilize to help you avoid such a prolonged stay. In the case of Rodriguez v. Robbins , the Circuit Court ruled that those held in immigration detention are entitled to a new bond hearing after six months. What that means is, if you or a loved one is held in immigration detention for six months, you should be able to get a new hearing where the government must prove three things in order to prevent you from being released on bond. They must demonstrate:
- That the individual is a danger to the community
- That the individual is a flight risk
- That the individual’s deportation will be imminently executed
The government is usually unable to prove these things, and you will more than likely be granted your freedom for the time being. Being held in immigration detention is a terrible experience, but a skilled attorney can at least help you avoid a prolonged detention over six months. While a great deal more must be done to help reform the US immigration detention system, for now Rodriguez Bonds serve as a strong form of relief for those facing prolonged immigration incarceration. If you or a loved one is being held in detention, please contact Landerholm Immigration right away to discuss your options and potential eligibility for a Rodriguez Bond.