Legal Aid Society


LAS Secures Landmark Ruling to Protect Against Excessive ICE Detention

In a pair of consolidated cases, Black v. Decker and Keisy G.M. v. Decker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had unlawfully denied a bond hearing to Legal Aid client Keisy G.M., a 35-year-old permanent resident of this country.

The Legal Aid Society represents Mr. G.M. in his immigration proceedings through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program (NYIFUP), New York City’s first-in-the-nation appointed counsel program for detained immigrants who cannot afford an attorney.

Mr. G.M. has lived in the United States for over a decade, he is a father to U.S. citizen children, and he cares for his elderly and medically-vulnerable mother. Mr. G.M. maintained years-long employment at a local healthcare supply company, and provided labor as an essential worker through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. ICE had detained him Keisy for over twenty-one months in county jails without ever demonstrating that his detention was warranted.

“Today’s appellate ruling sends a clear message that ICE cannot detain individuals for months on end without a bond hearing and upholds due process for all, regardless of immigration status,” said Julie Dona, Supervising Attorney in Legal Aid’s Immigration Law Unit.

Our client was separated from his family for nearly two years while wrongly detained,” she continued. “There is nothing that can right that wrong, but we are pleased that this ruling makes clear that no person in immigration detention should face prolonged incarceration without individualized review.”