What's at Stake
Whether a cause of action is available under the Constitution for violations of prisoners’ due process and equal protection rights when the prisoners were abused in immigration custody and when the government asserts that the abuse touches on national security decisions.
The Supreme Court in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), recognized a judicial damages remedy when federal officers violate individuals’ constitutional rights and no alternative relief is available. Ziglar v. Abbasi, concerns the claims of a class of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens that they were singled out as “terrorism suspects” and abused in immigration detention based solely on their race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status. In an amicus brief filed with a coalition of immigrants’ rights and civil rights groups, the ACLU argues that the right to a Bivens remedy does not dissipate when government officials assert that constitutional violations touch on issues of national security and immigration.