German Santos v. Warden Pike County Correctional Facility

Immigration News 

On July 7, 2020, NSC lawyers won a significant victory in German Santos v. Warden Pike County Correctional Facility, a precedential decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. NSC’s client, Jose German Santos, was a lawful permanent resident who had been detained in ICE custody for over two and a half years while he fought his deportation case, all because of a single marijuana offense. During that time, he was never entitled to a hearing to determine whether it was necessary to detain him, because he would likely abscond or be dangerous if released. In its decision, the Third Circuit held that this lengthy detention without a bond hearing is unconstitutional, and ordered a bond hearing where the Government bears the burden of proving that his continued detention is necessary by clear and convincing evidence. This case will be important not just for NSC and our client but for all immigrants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who are challenging their lengthy detention. The decision makes it easier for immigrants to these types of challenges because it reaffirms the fact that lengthy detention can be unconstitutional, provides guidance to lower courts on when detention becomes unconstitutional, and holds for the first time that the Government bears a heightened burden when a court does order a bond hearing.