Hundreds of civil immigration detainees, including asylum seekers, were moved from immigration detention centers to a federal prison complex in Victorville, CA.

They were held incommunicado. Detainees were denied all access to attorneys, including pro bono lawyers who wanted to give them legal advice on handling their cases that could be a matter of life and death. In addition, the detainees appear to have been allowed no communication with family members. Many of those held include individuals subject to the administration's "zero-tolerance" policies, under which children have been forcibly separated from their parents.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, include an immigration attorney Gabriela Lopez, her client Gustavo Rodriguez Castillo, and the non-profit Immigrant Defenders Law Center (Imm Def) that provides free legal services to noncitizens in Southern California. Attorneys, including those from Imm Def, attempting to visit the detainees were turned away from the Victorville prison even though they followed prescribed procedures.

These actions by the Trump administration violate the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, the First Amendment, federal detention standards, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The emergency lawsuit asks that officials be forced to cease preventing attorneys from visiting or communicating with immigration detainees at the Victorville prison.

Case Developments

June 25, 2018
Defendants stipulate to extend the temporary restraining order. Detainees will continue to be able to access legal help.

June 21, 2018
The court granted our ex parte application for a temporary restraining order and orders the government to allow immigrant detainees at U.S. Penitentiary, Victorville access to attorneys. Read the order.

June 19, 2018

Complaint filed. Read it here.

Date filed

June 19, 2018


U.S. District Court for the Central District of California


Otis D. Wright, II