Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warehouses many immigrants in Michigan jails while seeking to deport them from the country. During a pandemic, this practice is not just inhumane, it can be deadly, particularly for people who are older or have medical vulnerabilities. People in jails are crowded together cheek by jowl in unsanitary conditions with no ability to socially distance or protect themselves from the virus.

In April 2020 the ACLU sued ICE, arguing that keeping immigrants with vulnerabilities locked up during the pandemic violates their constitutional right to safe conditions of confinement. Judge Judith Levy agreed. After initially releasing 12 people through a series of individual orders, Judy Levy certified a class of immigration detainees held at the Calhoun County Jail, and adopted a bail application process to decide whether vulnerable class members should remain locked up there. As of early September 2020, a total of 20 people have been freed through the case, and the bail process is continuing.

We also brought a lawsuit on behalf of five immigrants detained in St. Clair and Monroe County, but there Judge Stephen Murphy denied release.

(Malam v. AdducciAlbino-Martinez v. Adducci; ACLU of Michigan Attorneys Miriam Aukerman, Dan Korobkin, Monica Andrade and Elaine Lewis; additional attorneys include Anand Balakrishnan, My Khanh Ngo and Eunice Cho of the National ACLU and Jeannie Rhee, Mark Mendelson, and associates and counsel from Paul Weiss.)