Strafford County House of Corrections

ICE detainees are sometimes held at the Strafford County House of Corrections and other county jails in New Hampshire

BOSTON — A federal judge in Boston has granted class-action status to immigrants who appear in a federal immigration court in Boston — including immigrants from New Hampshire — in a lawsuit that challenges procedures for releasing ICE detainees from custody before trial, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ruling by U.S District Court Chief Justice Patti B. Saris allows a lawsuit to move forward that challenges current practices, which require Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees to prove they are not a danger or flight risk.

ACLU chapters in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have called the approach flawed, arguing that ICE should have to prove a detainee’s danger or flight risk.

“In order to keep someone behind bars in this country, the government must prove why they should be detained: but for immigrants, before today, that was not the case,” said SangYeob Kim, immigration staff attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire.

Saris certified two classes: current and future ICE detainees. The ACLU said an eventual decision in the case could affect thousands of people.