For Immediate Release
ICE Releases Two Immigrants After Court Finds Their Prolonged Mandatory Detention Illegal
HARRISBURG, PA - Immigration and Customs and Enforcement
released two immigrants who had been subjected to prolonged immigration
detention while pursuing legal challenges to deportation after a court
ruled that their continued detention without bond hearings was unlawful.
Rather than proceed with bond hearings for the detainees, the
government released Elliot Grenade, a lawful permanent resident from
Trinidad and Tobago, and Alexander Alli, a lawful permanent resident
from Ghana, without requiring them to post any bail – Alli under minimal
reporting requirements and Grenade under electronic monitoring. The two
men are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of
Pennsylvania and Pepper Hamilton LLP.
Grenade was released Thursday and
Alli in late January. They had been detained for over two and a half
years and a year and a half, respectively.
"While we're relieved that Mr. Alli
and Mr. Grenade are finally out of detention, this case underscores the
injustice and irrationality of the broad mandatory immigration detention
policy," said Judy Rabinovitz, Deputy Director of the ACLU Immigrants'
Rights Project. "The government had an opportunity to argue before the
court that their continued detention was necessary but instead decided
to release them from jail. The only logical conclusion is that once it
looked at the facts of their individual cases, the government itself
recognized that their detention was not warranted."
The ACLU's lawsuit on Alli's and
Grenade's behalf charged that the U.S. government violates the law by
incarcerating people for prolonged periods of time while they fight
their immigration cases without providing them with a custody hearing to
determine if their detention is justified. In January 2010, the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that Alli
and Grenade were entitled to individual bond hearings at which the
government would have to prove that the men's continued detention was
"It's wonderful that the government
ultimately decided to release Mr. Alli and Mr. Grenade, but its decision
also confirms that the lengthy imprisonment they suffered was entirely
unnecessary in light of the facts of their individual cases," said
Farrin Anello, an attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project.
"Our clients could have spent the last few years working and caring for
their families rather than being imprisoned. Many others like them
continue to be deprived of their liberty for months or years in
immigration detention even though no judge has ever considered whether
their detention is necessary."
The men's release brings partial
resolution to the case, Alli et al. v.
Decker et al ., originally filed in May 2009. Because thousands
of other immigrants are detained for months or even years without
hearings to determine if their detention is necessary, the ACLU plans to
appeal the court's August 2009 decision denying permission to bring
this case as a class action.
Lawyers on the case include
Rabinovitz and Anello of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, Valerie
Burch and Vic Walczak of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Thomas Schmidt
III, Kathleen Mullen and Frederick Alcaro of Pepper Hamilton LLP.
An ACLU Web page on prolonged
detention of immigrants, "No End in Sight: Immigrants Locked Up for
Years Without Hearings," can be found online at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-
More information on the case is
available online at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.