Lora v. Shanahan, brought under the Obama administration, decided that all mandatorily detained immigrants must be afforded a bail hearing before an immigration judge within six months of their detention. The decision upheld important rights for lawful permanent residents when detained following their conviction of a crime and after their release.
Under U.S. Code: Title 8 – Aliens And Nationality section 1226(c), the Department of Homeland Security is required to detain immigrants who have committed certain crimes “when [they are] released” from prison. Alexander Lora, a green card holder from the Dominican Republic who arrived in the U.S. in 1990 when he was 7 years old, was convicted for cocaine possession in 2010, and was arrested in 2013 by ICE pursuant to that code. Despite having pled guilty to the cocaine charge and sentenced to a 5-year probation, which he hadn’t violated, DHS ruled Lora’s detention was mandatory and that he would not be eligible for a bail hearing.
Lora applied for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his continued detention, as DHS did not detain him when he was released from custody after his conviction three years earlier. Lora further argued that his imprisonment without a bail hearing raised constitutional concerns over his right to due process. A federal appeals court ruled Lora was eligible to receive a bail hearing, as “an immigrant detained pursuant to section 1226(c) must be afforded a bail hearing before an immigration judge within six months of his or her detention.” Lora was released from custody after posting a $5000 bond.