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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

Fraihat v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


Fraihat v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, Oct. 20, 2021): Defendants, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), appealed the lower court’s ruling in favor of plaintiffs, five detainees in immigration detention facilities, who brought a class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs argued that ICE’s directives responding to COVID-19 and applying to all 250 of its nationwide immigration detention facilities exhibited “‘deliberate indifference’ to medical needs” or “‘reckless disregard’ of known health risks” and violated the Fifth Amendment and federal Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs asked the court to block the directives nationwide. The 9th Circuit determined the plaintiffs did not clearly demonstrate deliberate indifference or reckless disregard, as ICE had taken certain steps to address COVID-19. The 9th Circuit also found no unconstitutional “punishment” and no denial of any “benefit” pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act. The lower court’s “sweeping” ruling was therefore unjustified. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – November 15, 2021.

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