In November 2018, the New York Civil Liberties Union, along with the Cardozo Law Immigration Justice Clinic and The Bronx Defenders, filed a putative class action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) challenging the unconstitutional practice of jailing immigrant New Yorkers for months before bringing them in front of a judge to assess whether they should be detained, what options for relief they might have, and, in many cases, meet their lawyers for the first time.
The Trump administration’s dragnet immigration enforcement tactics have dramatically increased the number of immigrants arrested in the New York area, creating a bottleneck that has intensified these unprecedented delays. One to two thousand people are detained by the ICE field office in New York each year and held in county jails in New York and New Jersey. They include people who have been in the country for decades, those who were brought here as children, asylum seekers fleeing persecution, and people with permanent residency.
The time between when people are detained and when they see a judge for the first time has gone from under two weeks in 2014 to well over two months at the time of filing. These unprecedented delays in access to judges unlawfully extend the detention of all ICE detainees in the New York area.