Victory! Ninth Circuit Upholds Immigration Detention

Press Releases

October 29, 2020

Agrees with IRLI’s brief supporting contractor sued under unconstitutional state law

WASHINGTON—The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a lower-court injunction against the operation of a California immigration detention center managed by a federal contractor. The injunction had been based on California Senate Bill 29 (SB 29), a law that sets up hurdles to opening privately-operated immigration detention facilities in the state. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the appeal in support of the contractor.

Activist plaintiffs sued the contractor and the City of McFarland to shut down a detention facility in that city that is being used to house overflow detainees who cannot safely remain in their former facilities due to the pandemic. The plaintiffs claimed that the onerous procedures SB 29 mandates were not followed, and the lower court agreed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding that the law’s procedures had been fully complied with.

“This case is important because California, where there are so many illegal aliens, has a great need for detention facilities, a need even greater than before due to the policy of spacing detainees to protect them from COVID-19,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Heedless of health and public safety consequences, the plaintiffs in this suit were intent on using SB 29 as it was intended—to crash the system. We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit terminated the lower court’s injunction, allowing federal immigration enforcement to continue in McFarland and elsewhere in the state.”

The case is Immigrant Legal Resource Center v. City of McFarland, No. 20-16557 (Ninth Circuit).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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