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Brizuela v. Feliciano
In February 2012 Sergio Brizuela, a resident of East Haven represented by the Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, filed a proposed state-wide class action lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Corrections (DOC) on behalf of all persons held by DOC based solely on the basis of an immigration detainer, an administrative notice from the Department of Homeland Security that provides no actual legal basis for continued detention. Prior to Mr. Brizuela’s suit, these detainers were customarily honored by Connecticut jails and prisons. As a result, members of Connecticut’s immigrant communities were detained in violation of their rights and without the opportunity for legal recourse. Mr. Brizuela himself was held unlawfully by DOC for several days.
Shortly after Brizuela v. Feliciano was filed, DOC announced it would no longer indiscriminately enforce immigration detainers. In February 2013 Mr. Brizuela agreed to a settlement, pursuant to which the Connecticut DOC agreed to further revisions, resulting in a new policy of disregarding many detainers and honoring only those in which the person is subject to a prior removal orders, has been convicted of a felony, or meets other criteria demonstrating a threat to public safety. DOC also agreed to disclose monthly data regarding their detainer practices and copies of the underlying detainers at issue. Data disclosed by DOC during the litigation and pursuant to the settlement indicate that ICE has issued substantially fewer detainers each month than before revealed that suggests that the monthly issuance of detainers by ICE in Connecticut has decreased substantially, and those detainers ICE does issue tend to track more closely the few categories of detainers DOC has agreed still to enforce.
Several months after the Brizuela settlement was executed, the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the CT TRUST Act, which extends many of the Brizuela protections to persons subject to an immigration detainer who are in the custody of state and local police, judicial marshals, and other law enforcement agencies.
The complaint, settlement agreement, and current administrative directive in Mr. Brizuela’s case are linked here.
Plaintiff’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, No. 3:12-cv-00226-JBA (D.Conn.) (February 13, 2012)
Settlement Agreement and Stipulation of Dismissal upon Termination of Agreement, No. 3:12-cv-00226-JBA (D.Conn.) (February 19, 2013)
Connecticut Department of Corrections Administrative Directive (February 2, 2013)
To view the monthly data from the Connecticut DOC, follow the links below.
May 1, 2015–June 30, 2015
December 15, 2014 - December 31, 2014
November 1, 2014 - December 15, 2014
July 7, 2012 – July 31, 2012
June 4, 2012 – July 7, 2012
April 4, 2012 – June 4, 2012
January 1, 2011 – February 21, 2012
Conn., Immigrant Group Settle Detainee Lawsuit, The Associated Press, February 19, 2013.
Thomas MacMillan, “Secure Communities” Suffers A Setback, New Haven Independent, February 19, 2013.
Mary E. O'Leary, Yale Law School immigration clinic files class action lawsuit challenging Secure Communities detainers (read the lawsuit), New Haven Register, February 22, 2012.