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immigration and customs enforcement ICE-Article-201903292133In two recent decisions that impact the civil detention policies of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hon. Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York granted injunctive relief to two sets of immigrant plaintiffs suffering from underlying medical conditions, ordering their immediate release from confinement in New Jersey detention centers while they await hearings to adjudicate their civil immigration enforcement proceedings.

In Basank v. Decker, 20 Civ. 2518 (AT), 2020 WL 1481503 (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 2020) and Arias v. Decker, 20 Civ. 2802 (AT), 2020 WL 1847986 (S.D.N.Y. April 10, 2020), multiple plaintiffs suffering from a variety of physical ailments recognized as “underlying conditions” in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, brought writs of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2214 seeking immediate release from detention in nearby New Jersey detention facilities due to the sub-standard conditions in those facilities located in Essex, Bergen and Hudson Counties. The Arias and Basank plaintiffs, all suffering from a variety of chest and pulmonary afflictions and all represented by Brooklyn Defender Services, successfully established the four elements necessary to warrant a temporary restraining order mandating their immediate release pending their respective removal hearings: (1) irreparable harm; (2) likelihood of success on the merits and; (3) a balance of the equities in their favor; and (4) and that injunctive relief would serve the public interest.

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