A federal judge in Los Angeles on Thursday ordered federal officials to provide a hearing to immigrants detained across the Los Angeles area to determine if they should be released on bond while they fight their deportation cases.
U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter’s preliminary injunction will ensure that immigrants who are detained for six months or longer, including asylum seekers, don’t just languish in immigration jails without having a judge review whether they can be released while their cases are pending.
Unlike defendants in criminal cases, who are guaranteed the right to a bail hearing in court, immigrants in civil cases often don’t go before judges to determine if they are eligible for bond. Federal law requires that immigrants be detained if they are considered a flight risk, a danger to the community or for certain crimes that require mandatory detention.
Hatter's ruling is sensible and fair. The federal government has authority to detain and deport immigrants, but it also has a responsibility to ensure that immigrants aren't subject to prolonged detention without court review. This is especially important given that immigrants in detention are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney, and often have no legal help even in cases in which they are seeking asylum.