(September 2, 2014, Los Angeles) – The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) hails the settlement reached in a class action suit brought by the ACLU against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that will lead to better voluntary departure procedures.
“We are pleased about the settlement, allowing people unfairly deported because of deceitful ICE practices a second chance to make their case,” said Martha Arévalo, CARECEN Executive Director. “We are even more hopeful about the changes to ICE procedures, which will result in a fair process for thousands of detained migrants who have faced a process that is stacked against them.”
The agreement may benefit thousands of undocumented immigrants, who were detained, forced to sign a voluntary departure order and deported, a chance to reunite with their families in the United States and to make their case before an immigration judge.
It also results in a fairer voluntary departure process, in which undocumented immigrants sign a document agreeing to their own deportation. Through this agreement, the government cannot use misinformation and pressure to force people to sign voluntary departure papers, has to inform detainees in detail about their right to a judge’s review or other relief, has to create a 1-800 information hotline, has to provide a list of attorneys and allow detainees time to secure their services, and give lawyers reasonable access to their clients, among other things.
CARECEN has worked for 31 years to protect the rights and dignity of Central American and Latino immigrants in Southern California. Since its founding in 1983, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the brutality of civil war, CARECEN has worked to change unjust immigration policies, win legal status for immigrants, and foster community activism on issues such as education reform, workers and immigrant rights, economic justice and community strengthening.