President Joe Biden has made it clear throughout his first months in office that he intends to implement much different immigration policies than his predecessor.
Now, his administration is facing a federal lawsuit over enforcement and detention policies related to undocumented immigrants — but the court challenge is not being led by Republicans.
Details of the lawsuit
Instead, the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to block or otherwise limit the transfer of detainees from a New Jersey jail to other facilities, BizPacReview reports.
The individuals are reportedly set to be transferred as a result of a bill spearheaded by the state’s Democratic-led legislature that would prohibit state or local correctional facilities from cooperating with federal immigration officials or detaining migrants on their behalf.
In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the ACLU argued for one undocumented migrant detained at New Jersey’s Essex County Correctional Facility and named defendants including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as well as top officials within Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among others.
As part of the case, ACLU lawyers insist that transferring detainees to other facilities — sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away — presents undue hardships and a violation of rights for both the migrants and their attorneys.
Specifically, the lawsuit maintains that such transfers can hinder access to legal counsel in violation of federal statutes.
“It won’t be the last”
“The Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not permit the government to effectively sever the attorney-client relationship by transferring individuals hundreds or thousands of miles away from their attorneys while their cases remain pending,” the ACLU argued.
The suit goes on to describe at length the various difficulties that these detainees could face and seeks a declaratory judgment from the court as well as an injunction blocking transfers of detainees more than 100 miles from the local correctional facility.
In a separate statement, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero declared: “True to form, we will sue any administration — Democrat or Republican — and hold them accountable when they take positions that violate civil liberties and civil rights.”
While he acknowledged that the lawsuit is “one of the first” to be filed against the Biden administration by an advocacy group, he predicted that “it won’t be the last,” according to The Hill.
Of course, a number of GOP-led states, including Texas, have already filed their own immigration policy-related lawsuits against the Biden White House.