ICE Accused of Illegally Detaining 18-Year-Olds

ICE Accused of Illegally Detaining 18-Year-Olds

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) has filed a class action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of teenage immigrants whom ICE transferred to immigrant detention centers when they turned 18. Prior to their transfer, the teenagers had been placed in government shelters. NIJC argues that the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 requires that unaccompanied immigrant children must be placed in the least restrictive environment available based on their well-being and flight risk. For example, NIJC stated, the Office of Refugee Resettlement cab place teenagers who turn 18 with sponsors or in supervised homes; transferring these 18-year-olds to detention centers is far from the only option available. The lawsuit, which the NIJC filed in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., alleges that ICE has failed to comply with the law regarding these teenagers, and that the federal government has failed to make sure that ICE is complying with the law by enacting any relevant policies or procedures. Many of these teenagers have already survived perilous journeys as they fled from persecution in their native countries. The NIJC claims that incarcerating already traumatized teenagers who entered the U.S. on their own makes them particularly vulnerable to abuse and other trauma. Despite the filing of this class action lawsuit, ICE has continued to jail immigrants as they reach 18 years of age. For instance, a teenage mother who fled her native country with her toddler son spent two weeks at an Office Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter for unaccompanied minor immigrants until her 18 th birthday, when she was transferred to a detention center, leaving her child behind in the shelter. Not only did this move violate the law, but it added to the trauma of both mother and child by separating them. This 18-year-old mother also has joined the pending lawsuit. If ICE has detained a loved one, contacting an experienced California immigration attorney as quickly as possible can be essential to securing his or her release and fighting deportation. Taking steps to fix an immigration problem from the outset is often much simpler than waiting until the last minute and attempting to remedy the situation. Call Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., at (510) 756-4468 today, and learn what we can do to help you through this situation.
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