Martinez v. Nielsen

Antonio de Jesus Martinez reported to a scheduled immigration interview in New York City as part of a process to obtain lawful permanent resident status. He didn’t know that the government had converted the process into a trap: ICE was waiting to detain and deport him when he arrived. Mr. Martinez has been with his wife, Vivian Martinez, a U.S. citizen, for fourteen years, and they have a two-year-old daughter and an infant son. The couple were petitioning for Antonio to obtain lawful status through a process-- created in 2013 and expanded in 2016--created for couples of mixed status like them. Previously, a person in Mr. Martinez’s position would need to leave the U.S. for years at a time to apply for a green card. The new process allows those individuals to complete most stages of the application from within the U.S., sparing families the trauma of long-term separation. Antonio and Vivian never imagined that they would be punished for following the government’s own rules. On June 22, 2018, the ACLU-NJ and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a federal lawsuit to halt Antonio’s deportation and secure to his release from immigration detention.


On June 22, 2018, the district court temporarily stayed Antonio’s deportation. The case is pending in the District of New Jersey. On August 3, 2018, the court ordered his release from detention and stayed his removal while he continues to pursue lawful status. On November 6, 2018, the government filed a notice of appeal.  The appeal was dismissed with prejudice on February 15, 2019.

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