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Paul, Weiss and ACLU Secure Immediate Release of Eight More Individuals in Immigration Detention Litigation

Paul, Weiss, along with co-counsel ACLU Fund of Michigan and ACLU Foundation National Prison and Immigrants’ Rights Projects, secured the release of an additional eight medically vulnerable ICE detainees held at the Calhoun County Correctional Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. Judge Judith Levy of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan instated a bail process allowing for the release of our clients, whose underlying medical conditions put them at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

The released detainees include a 69-year-old lawful permanent resident returning to his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons; a 54-year-old lawful permanent resident returning to her partner, daughter and extended family; and a 41-year-old asylum seeker returning to his brother, sister-in-law and nephews. Each of the released detainees are returning to family or friends, where they can safely practice social distancing.

These victories are part of an ongoing class action lawsuit brought by Paul, Weiss and co-counsel on behalf of 20 named plaintiffs representing a class of all detainees at Calhoun. The complaint seeks immediate release and/or declaratory relief for the class, asserting that Calhoun is not designed or equipped to handle the extraordinary public health crisis presented by COVID-19. The complaint further argues that, left unchecked, ICE’s failure to act will result in a needless and avoidable loss of life, and that certain members of the class are at an advanced age or suffer from medical conditions that put them at particularly high risk of post-infection complications. In total, 20 of our clients have been released from detention—11 pursuant to Judge Levy’s grant of their preliminary injunctions, one by ICE voluntarily as a result of our filings, and eight on bail following Paul, Weiss and co-counsel’s applications on their behalf.

The Paul, Weiss team includes litigation partners Mark Mendelsohn and Jeannie Rhee, counsel Rachel Fiorill and Peter Jaffe, and associates Akila Bhargava, Jacob Braly, Jessica Finberg, Kate Gadsden, Darren Gardner, Joseph Granzotto, Stanton Lawyer, Becky Lockert, Sarah Maneval, Bethlehem Mebratu, Ocasha Musah, Breanne Palmer, Samuel Prose, Edward Robinson, Oleg Shik and Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb. Nicholas La Forge, Ashley Martinez, Robert Borek, Jae Hee Han, Trevor Hill and Amina Rana from the Managing Attorney’s Office, as well as pro bono counsel Emily Goldberg and litigation associate Jeremy Benjamin, provided invaluable support.

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