DOVER, N.H. – Yesterday, Abdigani Faisal Hussein was released from immigration custody after a federal court ruled that he was being held unconstitutionally without a bond hearing by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). After nine months of being detained, Hussein was granted a hearing, where he was found to be neither a danger nor a flight risk, and was released yesterday afternoon to be reunited with his family.
Hussein is a Somali citizen who lawfully entered the United States in 1996 as a refugee and had been living peacefully in his community for 11 years. In 2002, Hussein was convicted of possession of khat, a plant local to East Africa, and was sentenced to one year of probation. He was then detained 16 years later in March 2018 following this Administration’s change in national immigration enforcement policy, where he was held in custody for nine months without a bond hearing.
“Every person in this country has the right to due process,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH, “Cases like this are exactly why we formed the ACLU-NH Immigrants’ Rights Project, and we are happy to see Mr. Hussein reunited with his loved ones.”
“This case proves why procedural due process is essential for immigrant detainees: without it, those who are neither a danger nor a flight risk are needlessly jailed away from their families,” said SangYeob Kim, the Immigration Fellow for the ACLU-NH, “Here, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prolonged the detention of Mr. Hussein for 9 months in violation of his procedural due process rights. All Mr. Hussein wanted was a bond hearing where he would be given the opportunity to prove that he is eligible for release, which he fortunately received with legal representation. They should provide such due process for all immigrant detainees.”
The ACLU-NH’s Immigrants' Rights Project filed the suit challenging Hussein’s detention on October 9, 2018 with Thompson Bowie & Hatch, LLC and the Law Office of Mark J. Devine. On November 6, a federal court ruled that ICE’s decision to detain Hussein in immigration custody without a bond hearing was unconstitutional and violated procedural due process. They then ordered that Hussein be provided a hearing by November 14 where he could ask an immigration judge to release him on bond. At this hearing, he was found to be no threat and therefore entitled to be released, which he was on November 15.