The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from Georgia have filed a federal lawsuit against the Donald Trump Administration for the bond system in the state’s immigration jails.
“Immigration authorities in Georgia routinely disobey federal law by keeping low-income immigrants in detention for months after their bail has been set in court, simply because they can not afford bail,” said Ivy Wang, a SPLC lawyer.
One of the plaintiffs, José Torres-Soto, was transferred to the Immigrant Detention Center of Irwin County, Georgia, after a traffic accident, where he had to be detained for five months before he could have a court hearing on May 2nd.
“This practice of detention based on wealth is not only unconstitutional, but also hinders the ability of the person to defend their case and support their family,” said the lawyer.
After months in custody, Torres-Soto’s bail was set at $ 18,000 by an immigration judge, a sum almost impossible to pay due to his condition.
“I work hard to support my family, but it’s almost never enough and when I was detained by ICE, our situation went from bad to worse, nobody should be deprived of their freedom just because they do not have the money to leave,” Torres-Soto said.
The indictment includes Attorney General William Barr, as well as representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) and the Irwin County Immigration Detention Center.
“Our lawsuit seeks to put an end to the illegal practice of imprisoning people just because they do not have money to pay bail and buy their freedom,” said eMichael Tan, lawyer for the ACLU immigrant rights project.