LOS ANGELES - The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) is proud to announce that Deputy Legal Director Ahilan Arulanantham and Staff Attorney Michael Kaufman are recipients of California Lawyer magazine’s 2014 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award for their outstanding work in Rodriguez v. Robbins. The CLAY awards recognize legal accomplishments that had a significant impact in 2013.
Co-counsel Michael K. Tan, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Jayashri Srikantiah, Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Sean A. Commons, Cody J. Jacobs and Jonathan P. Feingold, current and former pro bono counsel from Sidley Austin LLP, also received the honor. Senior Paralegal Geneva Tien was also recognized for her work on the case, as was New York co-counsel Judy Rabinovitz.
In its landmark ruling in Rodriguez last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals established that the government must provide rigorous bond hearings to immigrants when they have been held in immigration prison for at least six months while their deportation cases remain pending. The decision has benefited thousands of immigrants throughout the western United States, all of whom have now won the most basic procedural right for the detained immigrants—a right to a hearing where they can argue for release on bond.
“I am honored that California Lawyer Magazine has recognized our work in Rodriguez,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, deputy legal director of ACLU SoCal. “We call on the Obama Administration to accept the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and acknowledge that all people should have a right to be heard by a judge to determine whether they must be imprisoned for months while asserting their right to remain in this country.” “It was a privilege for me to help establish the right to a bond hearing for people forced to languish in immigration prison for prolonged periods of time,” said Michael Kaufman, staff attorney for ACLU SoCal. “The case has provided important protections to ensure that no one will be locked up for months or years without an individualized determination that their detention is necessary.”
“ACLU SoCal is very fortunate to have the talent that can make legal history,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of ACLU SoCal. “Our lawyers and their team have the courage to pour all of their passion, time and commitment into cases and do not yield until those who are most vulnerable receive justice.”
The recipients of the CLAY Awards will be featured in the March 2014 issue of California Lawyer.