On Monday, November 28, BDS attorneys joined the Legal Aid Society of New York, VOCAL-NY, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Assembly Member Dan Quart, State Senator Diane Savino, and many others in a rally on the steps of City Hall to urge the Governor to sign a gravity knife reform bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature in June.
Lora is a famous name in New York immigration courts. Thanks to a case Alex Lora and his legal team at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) and New York University School of Law (NYU) brought to challenge his immigration detention, since 2015, all immigrants detained for six months in the Second Circuit now have the right to a day in court where a judge can determine if their continued detention is justified.
Next Wednesday, on November 30, 2016 the Supreme Court will hear Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that could provide nationwide access to bond hearings to immigrants like Mr. Lora who are held in long-term detention.
Across the country, thousands of people languish in immigration jails as they await their court hearings. For Mr. Lora, mandatory detention cost him his job, his ability to provide for his family, and his two-year-old son, who was placed in foster care after Mr. Lora was taken from his home. Since his release, he has been able to rebuild his life and regain custody of his son. For Mr. Lora and others in the Second Circuit, bond hearings have provided a critical procedural protection to prevent harmful and needless long-term detention.
In this new video, hear from Mr. Lora himself about his life and his experience in detention, which illustrates what is at stake in Jennings:
For more information about this case and the people and communities impacted by immigration detention, see prolongeddetentionstories.org, a project of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic and Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC).
Today, Gotham Gazette published an op-ed by BDS’ Community Advocacy Coordinator Nick Malinowski and Melissa Moore, deputy state director of the New York policy office of the Drug Policy Alliance, on New York’s fundamentally unfair and misguided approach to drug possession.
Moore and Malinowski write:
“At a time when public opinion nationwide favors treating drug use as a public health issue, we must stop and ask why these problematic [drug] arrests and incarcerations, which do not improve public safety, are happening in the first place. In some of these cases, people are arrested and incarcerated even when they do not actually possess illegal drugs. In cases when a person possesses drugs in an amount so small that it can’t be identified properly, should we really be sending them to Rikers Island — interrupting their life and introducing collateral consequences that can haunt them for years after?”
Read the whole op-ed here or below.
Today’s Village Voice features a cover story on “The Incredibles” – Brooklyn police officers who judges have found to be not credible yet continue to be utilized by the District Attorney to prosecute cases. The story centers on officers whose misdeeds only came to light through investigations by BDS attorneys Deborah Silberman, Renee Seman and Scott Hechinger. You can read the entire article here or below.