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Case Name Alli v. Decker IM-PA-0009
Docket / Court 09-698 ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On April 15, 2009, two longtime permanent residents of the United States who had been detained in Pennsylvania prisons for periods exceeding six months while they pursued challenges to decisions to deport them filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department ... read more >
On April 15, 2009, two longtime permanent residents of the United States who had been detained in Pennsylvania prisons for periods exceeding six months while they pursued challenges to decisions to deport them filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the prisons that held them in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq., the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq., and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel, asked the court for a writ of habeas corpus and injunctive and declaratory relief, alleging violations of their Fifth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that their prolonged detention pending immigration proceedings without a hearing to determine whether such detention was justified violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

On August 10, 2009, the Court (Judge John E. Jones III) declined to certify a class action or to grant habeas class relief but granted the plaintiffs' individual habeas petitions. Alli v. Decker, 644 F. Supp. 2d 535 (M.D. Pa. 2009). The court found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to provide class relief, as the statute that authorized plaintiffs' detention explicitly barred class action to enjoin or restrain its application, but also interpreted that statute as authorizing mandatory detention only "for the period of time reasonably necessary to promptly initiate and conclude removal proceedings," and held that "[i]f an alien detained pursuant to [the statute] makes a showing via a habeas petition that detention is no longer reasonable, the alien must be afforded a hearing before the habeas court at which the government bears the burden of justifying continued detention based on traditional bail factors such as the alien's risk of flight and potential danger to the community." Id. at 11-12. The court gave the parties twenty days to indicate whether they wanted to present testimony or evidence related to the reasonableness of the plaintiffs' detentions at a bail hearing.

Rather than do so, the parties came to an agreement whereby defendants would release the plaintiffs without requiring that they post bail. One plaintiff was released in late January of 2010 under minimal reporting requirements, and the other was released in late March of the same year, subject to electronic monitoring.

Christopher Schad - 06/04/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Habeas Corpus
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Deportation - judicial review
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description two immigrants, both longtime lawful permanent residents of the United States, who were detained in Pennsylvania prisons for periods exceeding six months while they pursue challenges to pending removal proceedings
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:09−cv−00698 (W.D. Pa.) 12/21/2011
IM-PA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Declaratory Relief 05/27/2009
IM-PA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Memorandum and Order 08/10/2009 (644 F.Supp.2d 535) (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0009-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Denying Respondents' Motion for Reconsideration) 02/22/2010 (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jones, John E. III (M.D. Pa.)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-0002 | IM-PA-0009-0003 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alcaro, Frederick (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Anello, Farrin R (New York)
IM-PA-0009-9000
Burch, Valerie (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Ellenberg, Stanley J (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Lee, Eunice (New York)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Mullen, Kathleen A (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Pfannenschmidt, Dennis (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Rabinovitz, Judy (New York)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Schmidt, Thomas B III (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Tan, Michael (New York)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-0001 | IM-PA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, Theodore W (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0009-9000
Cerutti, Stephen (Pennsylvania)
IM-PA-0009-9000
Forney, Geoffrey (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0009-9000
Juncaj, Gjon (District of Columbia)
IM-PA-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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