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Increase in Deaths at Immigration Detention Facilities: Problems with Prolonged Detention

Immigrant Detention in Houston

Immigration enforcement and the detention of aliens has sharply increased since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. Since January 22, 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have arrested over 40,000 people, approximately 400 people per day.

This increase in immigration detention has brought the issues with mandatory and prolonged detention to the national forefront. 

Just this week two immigrants died in ICE detention—Jean Jimenez-Joseph, age 27, and Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, age 58. Both individuals were subject to mandatory detention under federal immigration law.

Jean Jimenez-Joseph was a Panamanian National, who came into ICE custody after being convicted of motor vehicle larceny in North Carolina. Joseph was found unresponsive with a sheet around his neck. His death was ruled a suicide. Reports state Joseph had been in held in isolation since April.

Atulkumar Babubhai Patel reportedly died from complications from congestive heart failure after being detained at the Atlanta airport for not having the necessary immigration documents. He died after being in ICE detention for approximately 7 days.

With a number of jail and detention facilities in the Houston area, including CCA, Joe Corley Detention Facility, Thomas Goree Unit, Harris County Jail, and the Montgomery County Jail, it is important to understand basics of immigration bond eligibility and issues with prolonged ICE detention.

Why May an Alien be Ineligible for a Bond?

There are several different ways an individual may come into ICE’s custody. The individual may have been suspected of criminal activity and arrested, ICE may have issued a warrant for the alien’s arrest, an immigrant may have been found without proper identification during a traffic stop, and countless other scenarios.

No matter how an individual comes into ICE custody, the next concern is always getting out of detention. Generally, an individual will request a bond in order to be released from ICE detention; however, this is not always an option.

Certain detainees are ineligible for a bond. First, arriving aliens are ineligible for a bond. An individual who is detained at the airport (any port-of-entry) or detained by ICE within 100 miles of the U.S. border may be classified as an arriving alien.

Individuals charged with certain criminal offenses may also be ineligible for a bond. A criminal conviction is not necessary. These offenses include aggravated felonies, multiple convictions where the aggregate sentence is five years or more of imprisonment, significant human trafficking, and several other offenses.

When an individual is ineligible for a bond from an immigration judge, he or she must remain in detention until the resolution of removal proceedings and the subsequent appeal.

Am I Eligible for a Bond?

Bond eligibility is a fact-based determination, which depends on several factors, including the manner of entry, criminal record, and more. It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney to determine whether you are eligible for a bond and properly prepare your request for a bond.

The Holland Law Firm, PLLC is a full-service law firm that proudly represents clients throughout Houston, Conroe, Magnolia, Huntsville, Montgomery, Sugar Land, Pearland, Richmond, Humble, and surrounding areas.

Contact the Holland Law Firm, PLLC at (936) 539-6882 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential consultation.

References:

INA Sec. 236 (a)

INA Sec. 236 (c)

Atlanta Immigration Detainee Dies, CNN, May 17, 2017

Immigrant Man Dies in ICE Custody, CNN, May 16, 2017

Immigration Arrests Rise Sharply as Trump’s Mandate is Carried Out, New York Times, May 17, 2017