1996 | Congress enacts the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, a law that establishes mandatory detention for some immigrants, including permanent legal residents, who are involved in deportation proceedings but who have not yet received a final order. The law leads to the prolonged detention of thousands of immigrants, including individuals convicted of drug possession and other minor crimes.
May 16, 2007 | Alejandro Rodriguez, a legal permanent resident who came to the U.S. as an infant, files a class action challenging the government’s policy of denying bond hearings to people detained for prolonged periods. At the time, Mr. Rodriguez had been seeking review of his immigration case after spending three years detained without a hearing. His detention is based on two nonviolent convictions: joyriding as a 19-year-old and misdemeanor drug possession at age 24. Rodriguez is denied release under the 1996 law.
January 4, 2010 | The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) and its co-counsel can proceed with the case as a class action. The class includes immigration detainees in the Los Angeles area who, like Mr. Rodriguez, have been held for months, and often years, without bond hearings.
May 3, 2012 | The U.S. District Court orders the government to disclose critical information concerning class members, including a sample of 1,000 class members’ immigration files and database information.
September 13, 2012 | The U.S. District Court grants a preliminary injunction ordering the federal government to provide bond hearings for certain class members. As a result, some immigrants receive a bond hearing for the first time before an immigration judge where the government has to prove that it should continue detaining these individuals.
April 16, 2013 | The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the District Court’s preliminary injunction requiring bond hearings for immigrants who have experienced prolonged detention to determine whether or not they should continue to be detained.
August 8, 2013 | The District Court grants summary judgment and orders a permanent injunction requiring bond hearings for all class members who have been locked up for six months or longer. The court also orders the government to report database information about bond hearings, including the name of each class member, the name of the presiding immigration judge, the outcome of the hearing, the bond amount (if any), and other release conditions (if any).
July 24, 2015 | The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals holds a hearing to consider the parties’ cross-appeals of the District Court’s grant of summary judgment.

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