Immigration Judges Defy Ninth Circuit's Rulings on Bond Hearings

Immigration Judges Defy Ninth Circuit's Rulings on Bond Hearings

For immigrants who previously have been deported and fear persecution if returned to their home countries, the only avenue of relief is to apply for withholding of removal. However, the standard of proof is high, in that the immigrant must prove not only that he or she has suffered past abuse, but also that there is a clear probability of future danger. Like many types of immigration cases, withholding of removal cases can take years. Meanwhile, these immigrants are detained, and, increasingly, have never had a bond hearing. For example, a 21-year-old Guatemalan woman has spent at least 459 days in the maximum security Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, waiting for her withholding of removal case to come before the immigration court, which also is located within Eloy. In the woman’s case, the immigration judge has never held a bond hearing, which would give her the chance to be released from detention and remain in the United States pending her withholding of removal case. As a result, when the woman’s withholding of removal case recently was heard in immigration court, her attorney asked the judge why she had never had a bond hearing. The judge’s response: “It is my position that I do not have jurisdiction.” Judge Davis of the Eloy immigration court has joined a growing number of judges who refuse to schedule bond hearings for detainees, citing jurisdictional grounds. However, this response is direct contradiction to federal court rulings that the immigration judges are supposed to follow. In this particular case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the federal appellate court that governs the Eloy immigration court. The 9 th Circuit has repeatedly ruled that non-citizens are entitled to a bond hearing within six months of their detention, regardless as to whether they previously have been deported, and that immigration judges are supposed to hold those bond hearings. Nonetheless, some immigration judges, such as Judge Davis, are continuing to openly defy the 9 th Circuit court ruling in refusing to hold bond hearings in withholding of removal cases. So far this year, at least 36 immigration judges have denied detainees’ rights to bond hearings; in the 9 th Circuit, there is no record of bond hearings for 400 detainees in removal cases who have been detained for more than six months without a bond hearing. Thousands of other cases show no bond hearing, as well, although the detention date for these cases was not recorded by the Department of Justice. When immigration judges fail to follow clearly established law, we are here to help. Individuals who are detained and/or facing deportation need an experienced California immigration attorney who can assist them with this often complex process. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we know how to stand up for the rights of those who are legally entitled to remain in the U.S. Call us today at (510) 756-4468 and schedule an appointment with one of our deportation defense lawyers, and learn how we can assist you.
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