The ACLU has filed a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey on behalf of immigrants who lawyers say should not be detained indefinitely pending deportation.
The face of the class action suit is a Jamaican-born man named Garfield Gayle. Gayle has been living in New York for three decades. He has a green card, but also a conviction for marijuana possession from 1995.
Since April he has been in detention in Monmouth County while he disputes his order of deportation.
“There are other ways of making people show up in court. You can issue supervision orders, you can ask them to come for regular check-ins,” said Michael Tan. The attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project is fighting the federal mandatory enforcement policy, as applied in New Jersey.
He says the ACLU chose the Garden State because of the number of people in detention in six different facilities. New Jersey receives many of the individuals apprehended in the New York City area.
Tan says people who have stayed in the country a long time, and in many cases have green cards, are unlikely to miss their court dates and ultimately have a good chance of winning the right to stay.