The Washington Post reports that United States District Judge Dolly M. Glee has granted class-action status to mentally disabled immigrant detainees in California, Washington, and Arizona that do not have legal representation before the immigration court, and that have been deemed mentally incompetent to represent themselves. The decision was rendered under seal in November, but became public this past Monday.
When the suit was filed on February 14, 2010, there were 55 mentally disabled detainees in custody. It has been estimated that at any given time there are between 200 and 300 mentally disabled people held in immigration detention in California, Washington, and Arizona.
ACLU of Southern California deputy legal director Ahilan Arulanantham believes that the Court's decision "paves the way" for a mandate for appointed representation in immigration court proceedings for individuals deemed incompetent. Current law affords individuals the right to representation before immigration courts, but at their own expense.
Judge Glee sits on the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and was appointed to the bench by President Obama.
Click here to read more of the Washington Post story.