Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
Federal appeals court upholds order requiring ICE to provide safer conditions for detained immigrants
© WikiMedia (U.S. Customs and Border Control)
Federal appeals court upholds order requiring ICE to provide safer conditions for detained immigrants

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court injunction on Tuesday against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requiring safer conditions to protect detained immigrants from COVID-19. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court is permitted to offer injunctive relief “to remedy unconstitutional conditions of confinement.”

The court stated that it was proper to certify a class of all of the detainees at Adelanto, a holding facility, because “the alleged due process violations exposed all Adelanto detainees to an unnecessary risk of harm” and a preliminary injunction protected them all. In upholding the injunction, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court properly held that the “Government likely failed to meet its constitutional duty to provide reasonably safe conditions to Plaintiffs.”

The court also responded to new developments at Adelanto, as the facility is experiencing a COVID outbreak that has infected more than 50 detainees and at least eight staff members.  Furthermore, the facility has far less detainees than it did at the time the district court heard the case. Based on these new factors, the court vacated the district court opinion in part and remanded in part. This sent the case back to the district court to consider the changes to the situation and determine whether the “government’s response has fallen short of constitutional standards.”