Immigrant Rights Clinic wins federal court decision challenging mandatory immigration detention

Thousands of New Yorkers are detained each year pending removal proceedings, and many never receive a bond hearing to determine whether they should be released. The Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) recently co-counseled with the Brooklyn Defender Service to challenge one longtime lawful permanent resident’s mandatory detention.

Alina Das '05Rodrigues Popo, a longtime lawful permanent resident and husband and father of U.S. citizens, had been held in Hudson County Jail without a bond hearing since October 2012. Ruben Loyo ’11, Popo’s immigration attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, contacted IRC about filing a habeas petition in federal district court to challenge the legality of Popo’s detention without bond.  Kevin Terry ’13, under the supervision of Alina Das ’05, assistant professor of clinical law, briefed the case, raising statutory and constitutional challenges to the federal government’s interpretation and application of the mandatory detention statute. On February 21, Judge Jose Linares of the U.S. District Court for the District Court of New Jersey granted the petition and ordered the federal government to provide Popo with a constitutionally adequate bond hearing. Popo was released on bond on March 4 and returned to his family in Brooklyn.
Terry was thrilled with the decision. "Mr. Popo is a great person and a valuable member of our community,” he said. “He deserves to be home with his wife and kids, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to help him get back to his family."

Posted on April 8, 2013