PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A court hearing on a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts began in federal court in Boston Tuesday.
Lilian Calderon, of Providence, is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit, challenging the Trump Administration’s pattern of separating married couples who are pursuing immigration status. The mother of two was starting the citizenship process in January, when she was taken into custody and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for nearly a month.
Calderon was eventually granted a 90-day stay of removal when she was released just before Valentine’s Day, but that expired on Saturday, May 12. She was then granted another stay of removal, which will keep her in the United States until mid-August. The judge has barred ICE from taking any action against Calderon while the ACLU lawsuit is pending.
“I think a lot of people are looking up to her, and to this lawsuit, to make some really important changes in the way ICE acts,” Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island Steven Brown said. “To bring some due process, and fairness, and humanity back to immigration procedures.”
Brown was not at the hearing Tuesday, but was in contact with attorneys for the ACLU of Massachusetts. He heard from them that the hearing went well.
During the hearing, two ICE officials, who were partly responsible for Calderon’s detainment, took the stand.
“There will be more testimony from additional ICE agents, and we’ll see what they have to say,” Brown said. “They are being put on the stands, and they will have to justify, or try to justify, what really is not justifiable, which is how they treated Miss Calderon.”
Brown was told the judge expressed concern Tuesday about the way Calderon was treated.
“Every little bit that we can get judges and courts to recognize how unfair things are is a step in the right direction,” Brown said.
The hearing will continue Wednesday in Boston.