Stopping ICE From Unlawfully Detaining Immigrant Youth

Garcia Ramirez et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al., District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 18-cv-208


This lawsuit challenged Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) practice of transferring unaccompanied minors who turn 18 years old to adult custody in the agency’s contracted jails and prisons, without considering less restrictive placements. In many cases, youth were sent to ICE detention even if they had sponsors waiting to take them in.  

Following a four-week trial in December 2019 and January 2020, the Court held on July 2, 2020 that ICE is violating the law in the manner in which it detains 18 year-olds.

On September 21, 2021 the court issued a five-year permanent injunction, which requires ICE to re-train its officers, fill out new paperwork, re-vamp its training and policies with regards to age-outs, and provide monthly reports and documentation to class counsel on its rates of detention for age-outs. On November 9, 2021, the Court modified the permanent injunction to clarify which provisions are permanent and which are subject to the five-year time limit.

On September 7, 2022, the district court approved a settlement agreement wherein the government agreed to dismiss its appeal and the judgment and permanent injunction became final. Class counsel will continue to monitor the progress of ICE's compliance with the settlement through review of monthly data from ICE through September 2026.

The American Immigration Council joined this legal action in June 2020. The case was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about the court’s injunction, please read our Frequently Asked Questions, which includes a copy of a sample Release Request to Field Office Juvenile Coordinator.

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