NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Advocates have petitioned for the immediate release of an Afghan man who has been detained for five months since he tried to enter the United States on a special visa for people who helped the U.S. military.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey announced Tuesday night that it had asked the U.S. District Court to immediately release the 25-year-old man or order that he receive a bond hearing to determine whether his detention is justified.
On Friday, an immigration judge ruled that he would not hold a bond hearing and that the deportation case against the man would proceed. The man's next immigration hearing is set for Sept. 6.
"Our client has been jailed for the past five months in a country that promised to welcome him. It's an egregious violation of our Constitution," said ACLU-NJ Deputy Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. "At the very least, he is entitled to a bond hearing after his prolonged detention. But for his rights to be honored, the government needs to release him."
The man was detained at Newark Liberty International Airport on March 13. The ACLU said he had worked for five years in dining services for the U.S. Armed Forces and U.S. Embassy, and was granted a special visa.
In March, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia temporarily blocked a New Jersey federal judge's decision to allow the deportation of the man.
Judge Jose Linares in Newark had ruled the man was unlikely to succeed in the case against the government because his visa was already revoked.
Government lawyers said the man voluntarily withdrew his application for admission to the U.S. in an interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer after arriving at Newark Airport.
The ACLU argued the application withdrawal was involuntary and he was held without a lawyer for over 24 hours.
The ACLU argued that the man's service to the U.S. military puts his life at risk in Afghanistan. But the government said in a court filing the man "explicitly stated that he has no fear of returning to Afghanistan."