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The Rodriguez v. Robbins Decision

Posted by Matthew Green | Jan 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that immigrants who have experienced extended detention should have a right to a bond hearing. This bond hearing is meant to ascertain whether the immigrant should continue to be detained.

The case was Rodriguez v. Robbins and it was a class action lawsuit. Here, the Ninth Circuit upheld an order compelling bond hearings for immigrants who had been detained for six months or longer. This is a very encouraging holding by the Ninth Circuit!

Prior to the Rodriguez holding, detainees relied on a holding from Casas-Castrillon v. Dep't of Homeland Security. This 2008 decision stated that detainees were afforded the right to a bond hearing once their case had been appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Unfortunately, this holding did not set any policy regarding timelines. For example, a detainee who appealed his case to the Ninth Circuit had a right to a bond hearing, but he may have had to wait years before being granted that hearing.

When an immigrant is placed in removal proceedings, he may decide to either contest the charges or he may choose to be deported to his home country. This deportation can be voluntary or by order from an immigration judge. Issues arise when the immigrant petitions for some form of relief and is forced to wait a prolonged period of time before a decision is made.

The case was initially filed on behalf of Alejandro Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a Mexican immigrant, was forced to wait more than three years while his removal proceedings were pending completion. He never received a bond hearing. The case was filed in a federal district court in Los Angeles in May of 2007.

Rodriguez wanted to obtain a hearing in order to determine whether his extended detention was justified under the law. Since the case was classified as a class action case, the district court in California found that it did not have the proper jurisdiction required to grant a class action. It was appealed by the ACLU to the Ninth Circuit in April 2008.

The Ninth Circuit disagreed with the district court's claims and said that the district court did have jurisdiction to allow the lawsuit to go forward as a class action. It also stated that the class action would permit those who are unrepresented to have a remedy.

Not only will this decision impact detainees who are awaiting immigration status decisions, but it will also benefit U.S. taxpayers. Currently, detention centers typically cost taxpayers more than $2 billion each year.

The Rodriguez ruling may end up helping thousands of immigrant detainees throughout the Ninth Circuit. This will directly impact immigrants housed in Arizona detention centers because both Eloy and Florence are located in the Ninth Circuit.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Matthew H. Green have worked with numerous clients who have been detained in either Florence or Eloy facilities, and we have successfully argued for the release of many of our clients on Rodriguez bonds.  If you or a loved one has questions about immigration status or detention matters, contact our office today.

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Partner. Green | Evans-Schroeder (formerly Law Offices of Matthew H. Green) focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...


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