Jose Antonio Franco-Gonzalez and his mother
March 26, 2010 | A coalition of civil rights groups and other attorneys file suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Jose Antonio Franco-Gonzalez and Guillermo Gomez-Sanchez, two immigrants with mental disabilities who had been locked up for years in immigration jails after being determined to be mentally incompetent to represent themselves in their immigration proceedings. Five days after the filing, both men are released from detention by federal officials.
November 2, 2010 | A coalition of civil rights and other attorneys* amend the case to bring claims on behalf of all similarly situated immigrant detainees in California, Arizona, and Washington. The lawsuit seeks legal representation for those determined to be incompetent to represent themselves and bond hearings for those immigrants with serious mental disabilities who had been detained for more than six months
November 15, 2010 | Plaintiffs’ attorneys request a preliminary injunction on behalf of two additional plaintiffs, Ever Martinez-Rivas and Aleksandr Petrovich Khukhryanskiy, asking the federal court to appoint legal representation and provide bond hearings for both men. December 27, 2010 | A federal court rules that government officials are required to provide representation to Mr. Martinez-Rivas and Mr. Khukhryanskiy. Additionally, the court orders bond hearings for both men.
November 21, 2011 | A federal court rules that the lawsuit, known as Franco v. Holder, can proceed as a class action, thus allowing plaintiffs’ attorneys to assist hundreds of detainees with serious mental disabilities.
April 22, 2013 | U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announce new nationwide policies to provide enhanced procedural protections to detained immigrants with serious mental disabilities.
April 23, 2013 | A federal court orders the government to provide legal representation to immigrant detainees with serious mental disabilities who are facing deportation and unable to adequately represent themselves in their immigration proceedings. The historic ruling is the first of its kind for any group of immigrants. The ruling also requires class members to receive bond hearings.
October 29, 2014 | A federal court establishes a comprehensive implementation plan, creating rules for the screening and identification of class members. The plan requires the government to screen individuals for mental disabilities upon arrival at the detention centers, share relevant information with immigration courts, and conduct competency evaluations to determine which individuals are entitled to legal representation under the injunction, as well as establish other safeguards to preserve the legal rights of detainees.
March 3, 2015 | A federal court appoints an independent monitor to oversee the implementation of the injunction and implementation plan. It appears to be the first time the Department of Homeland Security has been subject to an independent monitor. March 30, 2015 | A federal court grants preliminary approval to a partial settlement that will allow individuals who were ordered deported before full implementation of the permanent injunction and implementation plan to return to the U.S. The settlement provides an avenue for these class members to seek to reopen their cases if they meet certain specific criteria. In addition, if the class member has been deported back to his or her home country, the settlement calls for the government to assist the individual in returning to the U.S., in some cases by paying for their return trip. The agreement could allow hundreds of class members to reopen their proceedings and return to their families and communities in the U.S. The court has scheduled a hearing for September 25, 2015 to determine whether to grant final approval of the partial settlement.
July 31, 2015 | Plaintiffs’ attorneys move to dismiss the remaining claims in the case, arguing that once the partial settlement agreement is granted final approval, the class will have received virtually all of the relief sought in the case. Plaintiffs’ attorneys also asked the court to award them attorneys’ fees and costs for their work on the case. *Plaintiffs’ attorneys include the ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Public Counsel, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Mental Health Advocacy Services, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties and the ACLU of Arizona.