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Mintz Files Class Action Lawsuit in Defense of Unlawfully Detained Immigrants

Mintz, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire, today filed a class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, challenging the government’s practice of denying due process to detained immigrants.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of immigrants who are currently jailed due to flawed detention hearings in which the detainee was required to bear the burden of proof as to not being a flight risk, or a danger to the community. The government’s practice runs contrary to multiple federal court decisions holding that such a procedure is unlawful.

“People are being deprived of freedom—jailed, and separated from their families and livelihoods—simply because they cannot prove a negative,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

“The actions of our government display a disregard for the constitutional rights of detained immigrants in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. We are proud to represent these individuals and fight for their freedom,” said Susan Cohen, Member and Founding Chair of Mintz’s Immigration Practice.

The purpose of this action is to compel the government to provide constitutionally adequate detention hearings for immigrants who are, or will be, detained within Massachusetts or within the jurisdiction of the Boston Immigration Court.

“This practice of denying due process to those who are detained is a violation of immigrants’ rights, freedom and safety – and it’s happening right in our backyard. Our hope is that this lawsuit will ensure that individuals who are detained in Massachusetts, or whose cases that are adjudicated here, will get the constitutional and statutory protections they deserve,” said Susan Finegan, Member and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee at Mintz.

The lawsuit was filed against Attorney General William Barr and representatives of ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, and several state facilities that house detainees under contract with the federal government.

The named plaintiffs in the case are Gilberto Pereira Brito, Florentin Avila Lucas and Jacky Celicourt.

The Mintz pro bono team representing the plaintiffs in this case includes Members Susan Finegan and Susan Cohen, Special Counsel Andrew Nathanson, and Associates Mathilda McGee-Tubb and Ryan Dougherty.

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