On October 9, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire filed suit with Thompson Bowie & Hatch, LLC and the Law Office of Mark J. Devine on behalf of Abdigani Faisal Hussein to challenge Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) practice of illegally denying custody hearings to persons in immigration proceedings who long ago were in criminal custody for certain offenses, regardless of how long these individuals have lived peaceably in the community after their release from criminal custody.  

Under the United States government’s interpretation of the law, individuals who can prove to an immigration judge that they pose no danger or flight risk will nonetheless be indefinitely confined in immigration detention in New Hampshire’s Strafford County Department of Corrections.  This practice—which is being heard by the United States Supreme Court—is unlawful, and this lawsuit challenges this practice in New Hampshire.

The petitioner, Abdigani Faisal Hussein, is a Somali citizen who entered the United States lawfully in 1996 as a refugee. He has lived in the United States continuously since that time. In 2002, Mr. Hussein was convicted of possession of khat, a plant local to East Africa, and sentenced to one year of probation.  Mr. Hussein has been peacefully living in the community for the last 11 years until he was detained in March of 2018 following this Administration’s change in national immigration enforcement policy.

On November 6, 2018, the federal court ruled that ICE’s decision to detain Mr. Hussein in immigration custody for 9 months without a bond hearing was unconstitutional and violated procedural due process.  The federal court ordered that Mr. Hussein be provided a hearing by November 14, 2018 where he could ask an immigration judge to release him on bond.

On November 14, 2018, an immigration judge conducted this hearing and released Mr. Hussein on bond.  The Court found that Mr. Hussein was neither a danger nor a flight risk and therefore was entitled to be released.


Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH Legal Director, Henry Klementowicz, ACLU-NH Staff Attorney, SangYeob Kim, ACLU-NH Immigration Fellow

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Thompson Bowie & Hatch, LLC and the Law Office of Mark J. Devine

Date filed

October 9, 2018


U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire


Joseph N. Laplante

Case number