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Over the last two decades, the US federal government has engaged in mass immigration detention, creating a human rights crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people with and without lawful status are held in ICE jails every year, spread out over a network of hundreds of facilities. Immigration detention can last months or even years as people fight their cases. This is especially alarming given the brazen increase in ICE arrests.

In Lora v. Shanahan (2015), a case we litigated with the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, a federal appeals court ruled that people detained by ICE must be provided a bond hearing – in other words, a day in court before a judge who may release them to fight their case at liberty – within six months. However, this past week, the Supreme Court issued a devastating 5-3 decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez, which reverses these gains.

This decision means that immigrants, including asylum seekers and long-time green card holders like Alex Lora, may be indefinitely separated from their families, their jobs, and their communities, and held in detention centers without the opportunity to request release on bond.

BDS has served over 1,000 clients through our New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) and ensured that over 380 people were freed from ICE detention. This work is ongoing, as we continue our fight to protect and defend our neighbors.

While this decision was devastating, we will not be defeated. Along with advocates across the country, we will continue fighting for the liberty of those detained by ICE, including by challenging the federal government’s mass detention laws as unconstitutional.