The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of legal advocates from Seattle to San Diego have sued the U.S. government over the detention of immigrants with mental disabilities.
The class-action suit, which the ACLU of Southern California called the first of its kind, asks a Federal District Court in California to push the government to create a system to determine which immigrants facing possible deportation are competent to represent themselves and to appoint legal representation for those who cannot defend themselves, according to a statement.
The complaint, filed late Monday, names seven plaintiffs, including lead plaintiff Jose Antonio Franco-Gonzalez, whom CIR and the Los Angeles Times previously reported on in March. Franco, who suffers from moderate mental retardation, was detained for nearly five years until ICE officials released him after another suit was filed on his behalf.
The ACLU and Human Rights Watch published last month a report on the mentally disabled in the immigration court system and detention.
The complaint can be found here.