Immigration Groups Release Statement Regarding Decision of Virginia District Court Judge to Deny Release of Detained Individuals at-Risk for COVID-19 in Virginia
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2020
Sirine Shebaya, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-656-4788
Sheena Pegarido, CAIR Coalition, email@example.com, 202-559-4431
Jeff Jones, Legal Aid Justice Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-869-1040
Washington, DC – Today the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, and the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC), the three organizations litigating Toure v Hott in the Eastern District of Virginia, released the following statement about Judge Liam O'Grady's decision in their case.
The groups had filed a motion for a temporary restraining order asking the court to order immediate release of their clients, who are all at high risk for serious illness or death if infected with COVID-19, from Virginia’s immigration detention facilities.
"Earlier this week, Judge O'Grady denied our clients' motion for a temporary restraining order. The decision is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. Our plaintiffs and medical experts extensively described the deficiencies at the facilities, the absence of any meaningful social distancing, the dearth of testing, and the confirmed presence of COVID-19 at one of the facilities. They also provided extensive information about the health and safety risks of COVID-19 infection for people with medical vulnerabilities, and uncontroverted evidence that ICE is continuing to transfer people into and out of those facilities, in direct contravention of CDC and health expert recommendations.
As dozens of courts around the country have found, the legal standards are clear: people in civil detention cannot be detained in circumstances that threaten their health and safety, and they are entitled to seek relief from federal courts through habeas petitions. Unfortunately the decision failed to recognize these well-established principles. Our hearts are broken for our clients, who are all medically vulnerable and who today remain in circumstances that seriously endanger their health and safety. We are considering next steps and will continue to fight for our clients' release."
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter.
The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the Capital region area and beyond through direct legal representation, know your rights presentations, impact litigation, advocacy, and the enlistment and training of attorneys to defend immigrants. CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab seeks to reduce the disproportionate legal injustices detained immigrant adults and children face by expanding cutting-edge impact litigation to engender systematic change through legal precedent that benefits broad groups of immigrants. More information can be found at www.caircoalition.org.
The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, social justice, and economic justice. Learn more at www.justice4all.org and connect with us on Facebook as LegalAidJusticeCenter and Twitter @LegalAidJustice.