April 23, 2014

Contact: Bryon M. Large, Chapter Chair Jeff Joseph, Lead Counsel
(303) 883-6686 (720) 273-4647

Government Ceases Abusive and Intimidating Violation of Rights by Security at the Denver Immigration Court Following Lawsuit Filed by AILA Colorado

DENVER, CO – Attorneys with the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a federal lawsuit on April 16 requesting a temporary restraining order to stop abusive and intimidating practices against immigrants attempting to access the Denver Immigration Court to attend their court-mandated hearings. Late yesterday, the government stipulated to ending these practices and creating a much more reasonable procedure. The Court is housed in an otherwise public federal building.

Citing Operation Shield, a federal law enforcement program designed to demonstrate the federal government’s visibility and ability to react to a national security crisis, Department of Homeland Security officials restricted access to the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building, allowing people to enter the public areas of the federal building only after demonstrating a valid U.S. identification or being detained while processing a background investigation. As immigrants in deportation proceedings, many do not have U.S. identification and were unlawfully detained pending investigations. The lawsuit requested that a federal judge intervene and issue an injunction to immediately stop these abusive practices. As a result of the suit, the government has agreed to cease this behavior.

“This is a victory for everyone’s civil liberties! It was a shameful practice for federal officers to intimidate anyone, including immigrants, trying to attend court hearings or conduct business in a publicly accessible building. Access to the government and court system is a fundamental right in this country,” said Bryon M. Large, Chapter Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Colorado Chapter.

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AILA Colorado is the local chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an association of over 12,000 private attorneys and law professors,
working to advance the practice of immigration law. The AILA Colorado Chapter meets regularly and is comprised of over 250 attorneys and law professors in the State of Colorado.