The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California announced Tuesday that they're adding new plaintiffs to its lawsuit against the U.S. government, challenging the government's right to hold immigrants indefinitely while they wait for their cases to be heard in immigration hearings.
The new plaintiffs are refugees from Somalia and U.S. residents from El Salvador. The six men have been detained for more than six months at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster and have yet to receive a hearing. The ACLU asserts that holding the men is a violation of the due process and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The original lawsuit was filed in 2007 on behalf of Alejandro Rodriguez. He came to the United States as an infant and was later held for three years without receiving a hearing. In the original suit, Rodriguez questioned if his detention was justified and also requested to represent immigrants in Central California who were in similar circumstances.
The federal district court of California denied Rodriguez's case class action status, but the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the decision and ruled that granting class action status to Rodriguez's case would help immigrants detained without representation.
Here is a list of the six plaintiffs:
• Abdirizak Aden Farah and Yussuf Abdikadir who are Somalian refugees;
• Alejandro Rodriguez, named in the original lawsuit;
• Abel Perez Ruelas, from Mexico;
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• Jose Farias Cornejo, brought to the U.S. from Mexico on his first birthday;
• Angel Armando Amaya, from El Salvador and lived in U.S. since he was 11.
According to the ACLU, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security detains approximately 35,000 individuals across the U.S.
In the Central California district, hundreds of detainees are held for prolonged periods while they await hearings on their cases.