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Case Name Onosamba-Ohindo v. Barr IM-NY-0082
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-00290 ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Equal Justice Under Law
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
Case Summary

This is a class action suit about bond hearings for detainees under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The issue is whether due process under the Fifth Amendment allows the government to place the burden of proof for whether the person being detained poses a flight risk (and therefore ... read more >

This is a class action suit about bond hearings for detainees under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The issue is whether due process under the Fifth Amendment allows the government to place the burden of proof for whether the person being detained poses a flight risk (and therefore shouldn't be released) on the detainee themselves. Another issue is whether Immigration Judges are required by the INA or Department of Justice regulations to consider the detainee's ability to pay bond and possible alternatives to bond at bond hearings under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a).

The case was brought on behalf of people detained under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1226(a)) at the Batavia Federal Detention Facility in upstate New York, as well as a subclass of people who are detained in Richwood, LA but have their hearings in front of judges at the Buffalo/Batavia immigration court. On March 10, 2020, the case was filed by two civil immigration detainees held under § 1226(a) pending their removal proceedings; they were represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union (an ACLU affiliate). The presiding judge is Elizabeth A Wolford, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. Plaintiffs filed a habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Fifth Amendment. Claims were also asserted on behalf of class members who had been denied bond before particular Immigration Judges who allegedly had a policy of not granting bond hearings or alternatives to detention in most cases.

In a September 2020 order, Judge Wolford denied class certification for the post-hearing class but granted Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion as to the main pre-bond hearing class in September and found that plaintiffs had stated a Due Process Claim that the government is required to bear the burden of proof at bond hearings for individuals detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1226(a). The court partially denied Plaintiffs’ sub-class claims and partially granted Defendents' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction for the claims regarding the no-bond policy on the ground that Plaintiffs had not named the warden of the Richwood Detention Center as a defendant. Finally, Judge Wolford rejected Plaintiffs’ claim that the INA required immigration judges consider non-bond alternatives to detention or the ability of detainees to pay, but found that Plaintiffs had stated a claim for violation of the INA on different grounds – namely, that the immigration judge at one plaintiff’s bond hearing had stated she was unable to consider alternatives to money bond.

In late September 2020, plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration relating to the issues they had lost,. Before this was acted upon, defendants filed a notice of appeal for the portion of the September decision and order that granted, in part, the preliminary injunction. (483 F. Supp. 3d 159).

In a decision and order dated March 29, 2021, Judge Wolford rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration. Later in April, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal regarding the September order and partial denial of the preliminary injunction. The appeal remains pending and the case remains ongoing.

John Duffield - 06/08/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
General
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are all individuals currently detained at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility (an immigration detention facility) under Immigration and Nationality Act § 236(a) who will have a custody hearing before the Batavia or Buffalo Immigration Courts
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Equal Justice Under Law
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 03/10/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Onosamba-Ohindo v. Barr
Equal Justice Under Law
Date: Mar. 11, 2020
By: Equal Justice Under Law
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
W.D.N.Y.
05/20/2021
1:20-cv-00290-EAW
IM-NY-0082-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D.N.Y.
03/11/2020
Class Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Class Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1 & 1-1]
IM-NY-0082-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D.N.Y.
09/02/2020
Decision and Order [ECF# 41] (483 F.Supp.3d 15)
IM-NY-0082-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D.N.Y.
03/29/2021
Decision and Order [ECF# 59] (2021 WL 1169193)
IM-NY-0082-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Wolford, Elizabeth Ann (W.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0002 | IM-NY-0082-0003 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Belsher, Amy (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Cohen, Jordan Laris (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Davy, James P (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001
Dunn, Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Roeck, Victoria Marie (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Sallomi, Megan (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-0001 | IM-NY-0082-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Coriell, David M (New York) show/hide docs
IM-NY-0082-9000

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