CONTACT: SangYeob Kim, ACLU-NH Immigration Legal Fellow, SangYeob@aclu-nh.org, (603) 333-2081

CONCORD, NH – On October 9, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire's Immigrants' Rights Project (“ACLU-NH”)  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 today—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.

SangYeob Kim, ACLU-NH Immigration Legal Fellow: “Simply because of a 16 year old conviction, ICE cannot detain Mr. Hussein indefinitely while his efforts to obtain protection under the Convention Against Torture and as a spouse of a U.S. citizen are pending.  ICE says that, just because of this conviction, Mr. Hussein does not get a hearing on whether his detention is justified, even though a court has never ruled that he is a flight risk or a danger.  This is simply wrong; in America, people are entitled to have a court hearing to determine whether they belong in custody. This is a due process issue and what we are seeking to vindicate in Court.”

The Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to hear oral arguments on this important issue today.  Information on that case, which was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/nielsen-v-preap.

The lawsuit can be found here: https://www.aclu-nh.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/hussein_petition_habeas_as_filed_10.09.18.pdf

 

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