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Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Help medically vulnerable people in ICE custody seek release due to COVID-19

Rapid individual advocacy for release of detained immigrants during COVID-19.

Posted April 28, 2020

Background & Context

Faour Abdullah Fraihat, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enf't, et al., CV19-1546 JGB (SHKx) (C.D. Cal.) was filed in August 2019 by CREEC and co-counsel and has gained significant momentum since, especially fueled by the immediacy of the COVID-19 threat in immigration jails. On April 20, 2020, we secured a preliminary injunction order requiring ICE to identify every person in their detention centers who has one or more risk factors, defined by the court, increasing their risk for COVID-19. Every person deemed at risk is then entitled to a custody redetermination review by ICE. This ruling has the promise of helping thousands of immigrants who are currently being held in unsafe conditions in ICE jails obtain relief during the pandemic.

Immediate Problem

The majority of people in ICE detention are not represented by attorneys. This includes many of the subclass members in Fraihat who are entitled to this custody review. While an attorney should not be necessary for a class member to benefit from the judge's April 20 order, as a practical matter, attorneys are greatly helpful to increasing the odds of success. We are looking to refer individual cases to pro bono attorneys for this limited representation.

Work & Deliverables

We are looking for pro bono attorneys to provide limited representation for detained people in seeking custody review pursuant to the Fraihat order. The representation is only before ICE and can be done remotely. It will likely require the submission of a brief packet of materials in support of the request. We will provide training to attorneys on how to prepare the request and how to follow up with ICE. We anticipate a few dozen such requests to be made over the next few weeks and are looking for attorneys to take on that amount of work. Prior experience representing detained immigrants is helpful but not required, same with language capabilities in addition to English.

Project Plan

Preparation Phase

  • Introduction call with a volunteer coordinator.
  • Participation in training.

Collaboration Phase

  • Preparartion of individual review requests and supporting documents.

Wrap Up

  • Report results of request to Fraihat counsel.

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 1-5 hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: We will organize a zoom (or equivalent) training with interested attorneys.
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: No
  • Additional Location Details: internet, video conference, email, scanner & printer (or access to) required
  • Bar License(s) required: Any Bar License
  • Required Languages: None
  • Preferred Languages: Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish
  • Required Legal Expertise: None
  • Mentoring Provided: Yes
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2013. Through large-scale class action anti-discrimination lawsuits and individual cases, as well as education and outreach efforts, CREEC works to ensure that everyone can fully and independently participate in our nation’s civic life without discrimination based on race, gender, disability, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. With the help of attorney Elizabeth Jordan, CREEC expanded its mission in 2017 to include CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP). IDAP was launched in 2018 and works with immigrants in ICE jails who are facing discrimination and unconstitutional conditions, taking into account the intersections of immigration, the criminal legal system, disability and mental health, as well as unequal treatment of communities of color. IDAP works at the individual, facility-specific, and system-wide level and focuses on three primary areas: • Impact litigation challenging the conditions of confinement in immigration jails; • Impact litigation challenging discrimination against detained immigrants with disabilities; and • Education and outreach on detention conditions and discriminatory and unequal treatment of immigrants with disabilities. CREEC is a small nonprofit composed of 6 attorneys, 3 paralegals and one Development Director. Of our legal staff, approximately 3.25 FTEs are dedicated to IDAP work.

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