October 6, 2023
IRLI shows court detention is not for convenience of aliens or their lawyers
WASHINGTON—Across the country, aliens subject to removal proceedings have chosen not to return to their home countries, but remain in the United States—in detention—while they contest their deportation. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a brief in DC federal district court opposing a suit by some of these aliens and their attorneys to make detention centers create more convenient means for them to communicate.
In its brief, IRLI shows that the purpose of alien detention is not punishment, and thus the conditions in the centers cannot be harsh or punitive. That does not mean, however, that all possible steps must be taken to facilitate communication between detainees and the attorneys they hire. Provided they have reasonable means to communicate—as they do—their detention conditions are not punitive and thus are acceptable under the law.
“Humane detention is already an accommodation to illegal aliens and criminal aliens, so they can contest their deportation here, rather than back in the home countries,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “They have a right to pay for their own attorneys, and a right to consult with them, but, under the law, our detention centers need not expend additional scarce resources merely for the convenience of these aliens, let alone their lawyers. Lawsuits such as this are part of a wider effort to strain and break the system, and we hope the court simply applies the law as written.”
The case is Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project v. DHS, 1:22-cv-03118 (D.D.C.).
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