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Jamaican ex-convict battling deportation in Massachusetts

Published:Friday | May 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

CONNECTICUT (AP):

A federal judge says the government cannot hold certain immigrants in Massachusetts for longer than six months without a chance for a bond hearing, a ruling that advocates say is likely to benefit dozens of people picked up across southern New England.

The ruling was issued Tuesday in a class-action case brought by Mark Reid, a Jamaican ex-convict residing in Hamden, Connecticut, who was detained in Massachusetts for more than a year by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement as he fought deportation proceedings.

US District Judge Michael Ponsor in Springfield wrote that allowing indefinite detention without an opportunity for bail can put immigrants' rights at risk.

LABYRINTHINE SYSTEM

"The burden on the executive branch officials to manage our labyrinthine immigration system is heavy. The need to detain certain individuals pending removal cannot be denied," he wrote. "But, where the government applies a statute without consideration for constitutional guarantees, the rights of vulnerable aliens are at risk."

ICE spokesman Daniel Modricker said the agency does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Nicole Hallett, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the ruling follows a number of court decisions in cases involving individuals that found the government is not permitted to hold them indefinitely.

"We hope it's the beginning of a tide of these decisions," said Hallett, of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School.