Orrick Files Class Action Lawsuit Seeking Phone Access for Asylum-Seekers in Border Facilities

May.06.2020

An Orrick pro bono team has filed a class action lawsuit in New Mexico federal court to force the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to provide legally-required phone access for individuals detained in immigration custody in the El Paso-Otero region, where ICE officials have repeatedly denied detained individuals the right to free, confidential calls with their lawyers.

The complaint seeks to ensure that legal calls can take place in a way that is safe and free for detained individuals in the region. Orrick partnered on the complaint with the Immigration Justice Campaign, whose volunteer attorneys have faced persistent problems contacting clients since last fall.

The litigation seeks immediate action by ICE to mitigate these issues, which amid the COVID-19 crisis are more pressing than ever for those seeking relief in the immigration system. The complaint states that ICE’s practices “severely restrict their abilities to make telephone calls necessary to consult with or obtain counsel, to gather information and evidence necessary for their cases, and to obtain fair hearings while in civil, immigration custody.”

The complaint and background on the lawsuit can be found here.

The Orrick team is led by partner Dave Hosp, pro bono counsel Rene Kathawala, and associates Paige Pavone and Lauren Allen.