(Bloomberg) — Immigrant-rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to block the Trump administration from detaining refugees from Central America in a flurry of raids expected to begin this weekend across the U.S.
Undocumented immigrants who’ve escaped torture or persecution in their home countries have a constitutional right to an asylum hearing before they can be deported, the groups say. They’ve been scheduled for deportation while being denied any hearing, according to a complaint filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
The U.S. plans to start raids on Sunday targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered to be deported, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing two unidentified Homeland Security officials and a former member of the department. President Donald Trump postponed an earlier round of raids this month, saying he hoped Democrats and Republicans could agree to immigration legislation to secure the southern border.
The U.S. has issued thousands of deportation orders in absentia — or without the defendants present — according to the rights groups. But the applicants were never advised of the hearings “because the government’s system for providing notice is in chaos,” according to the lawsuit.
“In thousands of cases, the government mailed notices to incorrect addresses; sent them with no date or time; and set hearings for dates — including weekends — when no hearings were being held at all,” according to the complaint. “Even when the government sent notices to the right address for a real hearing, it repeatedly sent them too late, for locations unreasonably far from immigrants’ homes.”