Virginia's Legal Aid Justice Center to Argue Supeme Court Case for Refugees Nationwide

Jan 10, 2021

Virginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center goes before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to argue for people seeking asylum in the U.S.   Thousands are forced to wait in detention centers for months or years until a decision in their case is made. 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments from Virginia's Legal Aid Justice Center and a D.C. law firm, McDermott, Will and Emery.
Credit The U.S. Supreme Court

Every year, tens of thousands of people who were deported from the U.S. some time ago return – many claiming their lives are in danger according to

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, an attorney with Virginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center. “One of our clients it was severe domestic violence. Another one of our clients it was opposition to the criminal gangs that had taken over their neighborhood,” he explains.  “They experience some sort of persecution that requires them to flee to the United States again.”

Because of their previous record, the Trump Administration decided those people should be held in detention centers until their cases could be heard.

“And these cases can last well over a year, two years,” he says. “We’re even aware of one who has been fighting his case behind bars for three years now.”

Working with a prominent D.C. law firm – McDermott, Will and Emery – the Legal Aid Justice Center will argue that these people should at least be permitted to ask a judge for bond.

“In preparation for this hearing we pulled the numbers from Virginia, where we’ve had this rule in place for bout 2.5 years now, and what we found was that about 50% of the people in this category who requested a bond were given one, because the judge looked at their case on an individual basis and decided, ‘This person’s not a danger, they have a strong case so they’re likely to show up for court.”

After hearing the case virtually, the justices will take three to six months to decide the matter, and their decision will guide cases of immigrants seeking asylum nationwide.