Lawyers sue ICE over videoconference immigration hearings

Posted at 4:51 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 16:51:56-05

NEW YORK (AP) — A group of detained immigrants and the lawyers representing them say their constitutional rights are being violated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement using videoconferencing for their court appearances instead of bringing them to the hearings in person.

The seven detainees along with three public defender groups filed a lawsuit against ICE and others in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Prior to last June, detained immigrants facing deportation hearings in New York City were brought in person to the court at Varick Street.

But ICE suspended transfers, in favor of video conferencing. At the time, the agency said it was due to protests, which then discontinued.

Plaintiffs say video conferencing has technical glitches and confidentiality concerns that impact detainees' rights.

The agency said it does not comment on pending litigation.