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Relevant Decisions

In contrast with criminalproceedings, removal proceedings include only minimal safeguards for respondents with mental disabilities. This page contains summaries of select cases addressing the rights of noncitizens with mental disabilities.

Federal Court Decisions

Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder, No. 10-02211 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 24, 2013): Federal Judge Orders Government to Provide Counsel to Detained Immigrants with Mental Disabilities Facing Deportation

In March 2010, attorneys from the ACLU of Southern California filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in a California federal district court on behalf of Jose Antonio Franco-Gonzalez, a Mexican citizen with a cognitive disability who had been in immigration detention for more than five years. Several months later, the ACLU and other organizations and attorneys filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Franco-Gonzalez and other detained unrepresented individuals with serious mental disorders in removal proceedings in California, Arizona, and Washington. The complaint stated that the government was required to 1) conduct competency evaluations for all those who the government knows or should know may be incompetent to represent themselves, 2) appoint attorneys for those found in need of counsel as a result of the evaluations, and 3) conduct custody hearings for those who face prolonged detention as a result of the delays caused by their mental disabilities. As a result of the habeas petition, ICE released Mr. Franco-Gonzalez from custody.Read more...

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State Representative Launches ‘Anchor Baby’ Task Force

Published on Tue, Oct 19, 2010

Wendy Sefsaf, communications director for the American Immigration Council, said there is no proof illegal immigrants come here to have children, only anecdotal stories in articles and newspapers.

“There’s no absolute proof someone would come here and have a baby,” said Ms. Sefsaf. “That baby couldn’t do anything for you until it’s 21 years old, and then sponsor you for permanent residence which could take 10 to 20 years. It’s an imagined problem.”

Ms. Sefsaf also questioned Mr. Metcalfe’s claim the 14th Amendment is being “misapplied” because the original debates around the amendment talked about both rights for African-Americans and for Chinese immigrants.

“It was very purposely passed and set up to take into account both African-Americans and immigrants,” she said. “It’s being applied exactly as it was intended.”

She said illegal immigrants primarily come to the United States for economic reasons, not to have children here.

“It’s almost invariably for economic reasons. We do have a broken immigration system, and we do need to address it comprehensively and fix it, but these patchwork solutions don’t get us anywhere near where we need to be to fix the system,” said Ms. Sefsaf.

Published in the Pennsylvania Independent

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 13

This issue covers natz delay class actions, challenges to Matter of Perez-Vargas, potential religious worker litigation, and LAC news.

Published On: Monday, November 19, 2007 | Download File

More states push for stricter immigration laws

Published on Tue, Jan 18, 2011

In explaining these somewhat contradictory findings, Wendy Sefsaf, the communications director of the American Immigration Council, said, “We have to dig beneath the surface. Americans want solutions, even if sometimes they are bad ones or not really solutions at all.”

Published in the Homeland Security Newswire

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3

This issue covers the favorable district court order in the ADIT litigation (Santillan v. Gonzales) and recent decisions addressing Matter of Grijalva and the presumption of effective service.

Published On: Monday, January 9, 2006 | Download File

"Ni Hao" from Hilary Xu

December, 2008
Hilary Xu

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Hilary Xu as December's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...

Barbour May Follow in Brewer's Footsteps on Controversial Immigration Policy

Published on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Mississippi governor and potential Republican presidential contender Haley Barbour addressed a Chamber of Commerce audience in Chicago Monday, where he spent most of his time on criticizing President Obama's handling of the economy.

He will likely continue to do the same in Iowa and California this week as he continues to test the presidential waters. But back in Mississippi, a quieter fight over a pending immigration bill is brewing, one which would undoubtedly play role in the upcoming battle for the GOP nomination.

Modeled closely after the contentious law enacted by Arizona governor Jan Brewer last April, the proposed measure in Mississippi would allow law enforcement officers to ask people they suspect of being illegal immigrants for proof that they are in the country legally. Failure to produce proper documentation could result in jail time or deportation.

There are slight variations in both chambers' versions of the bill. The state Senate measure would have allowed people to sue cities, counties, and law enforcement officials who failed to comply with the new rules. The House stripped that language, and added a provision to allow for lawsuits and fines for employers of illegal immigrants.

Reaction to the proposed legislation at the local level has largely fallen along predictable partisan lines. The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance has called it unethical and racist. And a group of state bishops sent an open letter to Gov. Barbour, arguing that "From a public policy standpoint, this bill does not make good law or good sense."Read more...

Published in the PBS Newshour

Freedom of Information Act

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED JUNE 2012)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that "any person" may request agency documents, see 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3), and agencies may only withhold information from a FOIA requester under certain exceptions outlined in 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1)-(9). These exceptions are to be narrowly construed, and the burden is on the agency to show why non-compliance with a FOIA request clearly falls under one of these exceptions. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B). FOIA also requires that an agency determine whether it will comply with an initial FOIA request within 20 days of receiving the request. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i). If the agency withholds information or is nonresponsive, the requestor may file an administrative appeal and then file suit in district court.

This Litigation Issue Page summarizes and discusses recent developments in immigration-related FOIA lawsuits. The page also provides information about attorneys' fees, non-litigation related FOIA developments, and links to FOIA resources.

Active Cases|Closed Cases|Non-Litigation Related Developments|Attorney Fees|Additional Resources

Active Cases

FOIA Suit Seeks Release of Prosecutorial Discretion Directives and Guidelines for Removal Proceedings

National Immigrant Justice Center v. DHS, et al., No. 12-04825 (N.D. Ill. filed June 18, 2012)Read more...