Foley Hoag Secures Release of Immigration Custody Detainee

Enables Mass. Resident to Continue Application for U.S. Citizenship

May 10, 2017

Foley Hoag LLP has helped secure a settlement with federal authorities to free a Lawrence, Mass. man who was taken into custody by immigration authorities in March at a Lawrence government office as he applied to become a legal U.S. resident.

Under the terms of the settlement, which was reached in the U.S. Court for the District of Massachusetts, Leandro Arriaga was released from custody after being held for more than 30 days and will be permitted to continue the process to become a lawful permanent resident.

Upon appearing at the Lawrence office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on March 29, 2017 for an interview to help him become a lawful permanent resident, Arriaga was arrested along with several others. Through counsel, Arriaga filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on April 27, 2017, alleging he was being unlawfully detained without due process by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“This case sends the message that individuals in our country are entitled to due process of law,” said Foley Hoag attorney Daniel McFadden. “We are proud to represent Mr. Arriaga. He has lived openly in Massachusetts for 16 years, is married to a U.S. citizen, and has U.S. citizen children. There is no evidence that he is a danger to anyone. The immigration laws provide him with a pathway to lawful permanent residency. We do not believe it’s in the public interest to break up families.”
Representing Arriaga on a pro bono basis, McFadden and co-counsel Susan Church of Demissie & Church argued that prior to and throughout the time of his imprisonment, ICE apparently failed to comply with its own regulations. The petition also indicated Arriaga never received a hearing before a neutral magistrate to determine whether his prolonged civil detention was necessary and authorized by statute.

McFadden and Church also argued that because of Arriaga’s longstanding ties to the community, including his marriage to a U.S. citizen, immigration laws and regulations authorize him to correct deficiencies in his immigration status and become a lawful permanent resident. They also maintained that Arriaga had never been charged or convicted of a crime, except for minor offenses arising from a traffic stop that resulted in a fine.

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