Detention Program

Detention &  Law Enforcement

“AI Justice threw me a lifeline.  I’ll never forget how hard they worked on my case, how they never gave up.”

Marlene Dindyal (formerly Marlene Jaggernauth)

 Advising detainees of their basic rights, assisting them to obtain release and fight their deportation, and monitoring conditions of detention to bring about systemic change.

Detention clients include asylum seekers, survivors of domestic violence and trafficking, and DREAM Act students like Juan Gomez who, along with his brother Alex, was facing imminent deportation. AI Justice convinced Senator Dodd to introduce a private bill on their behalf.  Juan subsequently entered Georgetown University.  He is now working at JP Morgan Chase in New York City.  AI Justice attorneys challenge abusive detention conditions and work toward systemic change.  They provide Know Your Rights presentations, during which conditions are monitored such as:  overcrowding, inadequate medical care, appalling living conditions, lack of access to attorneys, frequent transfers to remote facilities, physical and mental abuse, indifference to human suffering, and improper use of force.

Our Detention Supervisor Romy Lerner co-chairs Detention Watch Network’s Steering Committee, and staff serve on both ICE’s National Advisory groups (ICE Detention and Medical Advisory Committees).

Notable Cases

Marlene Dindyal

Marlene was detained by ICE for 11 months and was deported even after AI Justice took her case to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  She  spent three long years in Trinidad separated from her family. Ultimately AI Justice won her case in 2005, fought to get her back to the United States, and then successfully challenged an appeal of the decision granting her relief from deportation.  Marlene recovered her green card and reunited with her family.

At any time, more than 30,000 immigrants are in custody at more than 200 facilities nationwide,  including (?# 5 (getting final from Romy )of jails etc. in FL  get this) in Florida. This year a record-breaking 400,000 immigrants were deported.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) standards are not legally binding in the very jails it contracts to detain immigrants.  Roughly 84 percent of ICE detainees have no attorney to defend their legal rights.

“I want to thank you all (at AI Justice) for everything.  I really believe that AI Justice saved my life.”

Rosemarie, Haiti

While in ICE detention in 2009, Rosemarie’s serious medical condition was trivialized by medical staff for months. AI Justice took her case to federal court, and the judge ordered ICE to provide her the needed medical care without further delay.  She then quickly received the overdue surgery, was released from detention and awarded damages.  ICE also terminated her immigration case.


Luis, Dominican Republic

Luis, 32, was born in the Dominican Republic, but lived in the United a permanent resident for nearly three decades. Growing up, he had an abusive stepfather and he had trouble with the law.  After a second suicide attempt at age 23, he was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Afterward, he made remarkable progress through holistic counseling, psychiatric care, and a supportive living facility.

Due to his old convictions, however, ICE detained Luis for nearly six months. FIAC advocated with ICE to improve his mental health treatment after Luis repeatedly failed to get his medication.  Ultimately FIAC was able to show the immigration judge that Luis deserved to remain in theUnited States, and he was released from detention.  The judge noted that she had never seen such extensive evidence of rehabilitation and congratulated Luis for completely turning his life despite the difficulty circumstances.

His Words:  My lawyer and FIAC did everything possible to make sure I got released and can continue my treatment and rehabilitation in this country.  God blessed me to bring me FIAC, to allow me to continue to be a part of my children’s life, my family’s life.

Click here to read more Notable Cases